Elliot, the friendly beast in Pete's Dragon
Thanks to David Lowey, Walt Disney Studios made an efficient metamorphosis for this remake in real shots. Pete's Dragon version 2016 is a clean folk tale flirting with the nineties.
Children fed in the 90's will not be mistaken. References to Spielberg and his iconic E.T. abound in this remake of a Disney classic, Pete's Dragon.
From the 1977 film to the 2016 film, the two works share little in common. Walt's obsession with live action films tinged with animation phases is here replaced by real shots on which this century's animation, the computer-generated image, which integrates the magic of the dragon into a smoothed reality, is superimposed.
As when Disney convinces with its live-action remakes of classics, this Pete's Dragon is first of all the result of a big work of rewriting a simple story, but with the concern to keep its humility. It's about accurately representing the singular and intense friendship between a young orphan and an imaginary creature.
For many years, Mr. Meacham, an old woodcarver, has been delighting the local children with his stories about a fierce dragon who lives deep in the nearby forest. For his daughter Grace, a forest ranger, it's all bedtime stories... until she meets Pete. This mysterious 10-year-old boy, who says he has no family and no home, assures that he lives in the woods with a giant dragon named Elliot. And the description he makes of him surprisingly corresponds to the one his father is talking about... With the help of young Natalie, Grace will do everything she can to discover who Pete really is, where he comes from, and to unravel the secret of his incredible story...
Moral Tale on Folk Song
Pete's Dragon is undeniably a success. The film is carried through from beginning to end by an expert team that pays attention to the smallest details. Nothing is left to chance in this tale punctuated with trials and highly moralizing messages. Each scene is a small aesthetic feat, as one would expect from a family and summer film. Shot in New Zealand, the film plunges us into the mystery of the forests and its luxuriant abundance of emerald tones that flatter the eye.
Walt Disney's chubby, colorful dragon takes on a more sober look of an oversized plush toy with a digital texture that is a little marvel. The creature, Elliot, makes any darkroom kid want to throw himself on the screen to hug this huge, bushy dragon with the look of Sullivan from Monsters Inc. In this respect, the digital venture is a success, as is the casting: Robert Redford gives the necessary depth to the raucous philosophy of the script, which is a little too green and overflowing with gentle humanism. As for the kid chosen to play the touching Pete, it works perfectly. All in all, we're faced with a clean and delicate faultless script. A neat Disney as we had forgotten that the studios could still produce them.
Nostalgia in Hollywood
The film first thought for a family audience fulfills its contract. Tenderized adults will see in it the little moral exercises of the scenario: can we reconcile nature and civilization? Should we preserve our transcendental morality as children? Is imagination worth more than the harshness of adulthood? As for the children, they will be transported from the sometimes touching scenes - handkerchiefs might well prove useful - to the gentle ending that leaves a small breath of optimism in sensitive hearts. Although all of this is very commonplace when we talk about Disney classics, we can't help but see a certain nostalgia, an abandoned recipe to which we give back its glory.
Certainly because of an aestheticism that borrows from the 90's codes of Spielberg's films, and the deliberate perfectionism of a film without false notes, but without taking much risk either, the Disney studios are replaying a score that doesn't age so much. By serving up an elegant and emotionally controlled feature film, this film stands out from Hollywood, which revives classics at will to make cynical remakes of them.
This Pete's Dragon easily makes you forget an unloved classic that has frankly aged badly. It restores the letters of nobility of a story whose morality was so important to Walt Disney. The perfect family film before a gloomy back-to-school season for the young people of 2016 who live in a world in which continuing to believe in imaginary creatures is perhaps not so useless...
The gentle pink and green dragon has really changed...
39 years after the first movie, Elliot the Dragon lost his little pink fins to huge wings. His green color remains the same. The new version has a real fur, he looks like a teddy bear, only a little more impressive. He hasn't lost any of his good mood and still has his big white teeth. He remains true to himself thanks to his friendship with Pete and his "pet" side which already made him very endearing at the time. The director David Lowery was inspired by his cat to create the fantasy character.
The 6 lessons of the film
1. We must respect the forest
This is one of the strongest messages of this touching film, because as soon as human beings, especially those who cut down trees for a logging company, get involved, the beautiful balance that allowed the dragon and his child friend to be happy in this beautiful forest shatters.
2. Family is the people who take care of us and make us feel good.
It doesn't matter what blood ties, heredity, origins, what matters is that the people around us are the ones we love and who love us, unconditionally.
3. Don't be afraid of what you don't know.
Human beings often violently reject what is not part of their immediate environment. However, the film shows this very clearly: there is no worse counselor than fear of the unknown.
4. Magic exists
In any case, if you believe in it, you open the door to the possibility of living extraordinary adventures and unforgettable moments. And yes, this magic can be human.
5. Sometimes, to save a friend, you have to let them go...
Sure, it's heartbreaking, but sometimes it's the right thing to do. And it won't take away from the love we have for each other and the strength of the bond that unites us.
6. Always pack a good raincoat
If you find yourself in the forest in front of a huge sneezing dragon, this is definitely a good idea!