Welcome to Kid’s Week: Day 6. Today, we’re talking about a Disney Live Action remake that people don’t even consider a Disney Live Action remake, but that’s exactly what it is. Just because it’s not about a princess doesn’t mean it’s not what it is. To be honest, I’m sure I probably watched the original cartoon when I was a kid, but nothing about that story do I remember. I probably didn’t really care that much about it when I was younger. Instead, I remembered Puff the Magic Dragon more than I remember Pete’s. That being said, 2016 had us watching this live action remake, so how well did it do? Let’s first take a look at what it’s about.
Pete, a boy is found in a forest. Apparently he’s been living there for six years after an accident took his parents. A ranger named Grace decides to take him in and when she asks him how he survived all by himself, he says he had a friend, Elliot, with him. He draws a picture of Elliot and it’s a picture of a dragon. Grace takes the picture to her father who claims that years ago, he encountered a dragon in the forest. Grace takes Pete back to the forest and he shows them where he lives with Elliot. A man saw Elliot and when he tells about his experience and is not believed, he sets out to prove it by capturing the dragon. (IMDb)
Why does there always have to be an antagonist in these movies? I really would love to know, because there are simply way too many times where the antagonist actually makes things worse. They make a story that has an okay balance over-convoluted because there “needs” to be a bad guy. That’s just silly. Kids can appreciate a movie without a bad guy. At least, I think they can. I’m not an expert, I just know how pacing can be screwed up by adding in a character that they don’t really need. So, here’s the deal, this is a movie with very little direction, and when it does have direction, it’s convoluting a coming-of-age story and turning into something else, and it just doesn’t work as well as it probably wishes to.
That may be my only complaint, though. So, let’s go ahead and break things down for Pete’s Dragon and interpret the stars.
PEOPLE SCORE – 9/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2
Even if I’m not a fan of one element of a film, there’s usually something that’ll make up for it, especially when it comes to Disney. One of the areas where it makes up for a little bit of a convoluted story is the people score, which nearly got a perfect score. While none of the acting really impressed me, everything else did. All of the characters are different enough to be memorable, right down to the fiance and villain. Even when I wasn’t a fan of the reason why the villain was there, I can’t deny that he did actually hold importance to what was going on, as did everyone else. Finally, I also can’t deny that everyone had pretty decent chemistry with one another.
WRITING SCORE – 6/10
Dialogue – 1|Balance – 0|Story – 1|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
Alright, so I already told you guys that it has a problem with the balance of the film because it is convoluted, but what about the rest of the writing category? Well, none of the dialogue was memorable, and there isn’t a lot that’s truly important about the story. It could’ve easily been better if they left it as a coming-of-age film instead of what they did. I do consider it to ultimately be an original film that’s interesting. I mean come on, when are dragons uninteresting, right?
BTS SCORE – 9/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2
So, what’s going on behind-the-scenes? While I don’t really consider the editing to be impressing or challenging, I did think everything else in this category stood out. The visuals were good both because of the CGI involved in creating the dragon as well as directing the specific shots. The director had a clear idea of where the film should visually head, and they did great here. I consider it a very as-advertised film and the music is memorable with both the soundtrack and score choices.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 1|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2
The narrative structure was mostly perfect, but it did have some issues with the obstacles. I wasn’t sure what to focus on since there wasn’t any real direction, and without any real direction, you don’t have many solid obstacles. While there are some obstacles there, they’re basic obstacles that aren’t super important. The introduction introduced us to the idea that there’s a dragon in the woods as well as what happens to the boy that leads him to the forest. The inciting incident is when the people discover the boy and take him in. The climax is a culmination of what’s going on with the villains in the film, and the falling action has the return to the new norm, so all is swell there.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 3/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 1|Sucks you in – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0
As you can see, I don’t really consider this an ultimately entertaining film. I think it’s sometimes a fun movie that can suck you in here and there, but not in any way that wows you. Personally, I’d rewatch this with my kid for his sake, but I’d mostly stay away from it myself. Finally, I have no impulse to buy this, own this, or really talk about it.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 45/50
Kid’s Week – 10|Family – 05|Adventure – 10|Adaptation – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Alright, now for the specialty questions that I wrote before watching the film. This is kid’s week, so how does this work for kids? I would say it works out really well. We have a very likable dragon that mostly just acts like a puppy, and who doesn’t love puppies? As for families, I think most families would consider a majority of this film boring, but I can’t deny that the movie is actually based around that concept, so half points are awarded there. How was the adventure? Well, for the most part, it certainly feels adventurous even though they don’t really go anywhere, so I still gave that full points. How about adaptation-wise? I can’t really remember the original story, but I can at least say it feels enough like its own movie to be rewarded full points there. Finally, was it halfway decent? I have no qualms with saying yes it is.