The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Pete's Dragon (11/29/2016)

Rated PG for action, peril and brief language.

Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Karl Urban, Oakes Fegley and Wes Bentley

Directed by David Lowery

Todd's Rating: Theatre Worthy

Dynamic ImagePete's Dragon is one of the best children’s movie of the year!

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales… until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.

Disney’s Pete’s Dragon wasn’t the biggest hit of the year, but it is does offer the greatest nostalgic boost. The remake is directed by indie filmmaker David Lowery, which makes sense because it feels very different than most “kid movies.” And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Pete’s Dragon is perfectly paced allowing the audience to enjoy the scenes of Pete and Elliott playing in the forest. You quickly get lost in their friendship and the scale of the over-sized mythical creature.

Lowery also handles the very delicate subject of Pete’s car accident and the death of his parents flawlessly. As I watch the film with my four-year-old I was expecting I would have to explain what happened to his mom and dad. And although the tragedy is clearly presented, the film moves away from it quickly and on to the rest of the story.

And the rest of the story is very strong. From unbelieving adults to the thrilling hunting scenes, Pete’s Dragon offers a heartwarming story, fun special effects, and something deeper for adults. This film brings to life the reality of our fleeting childhood. There is a nagging awareness that Pete and Elliott’s time together will, just like childhood, not last forever. Goodbyes are never easy and this film is full of them. So when you cuddle up this winter with your family, be prepared with a box of tissues.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film…and I think you will be too…it’s “Theater Worthy.”

Yes, this one is great for the entire family.

  1. Early on in the film Meacham says that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  2. What is he talking about when he says this?

  3. What are some other things that we believe in that we cannot see?

  4. Read 2 Corinthians 5:7

      “…for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

  5. What do you think it means to walk by faith not by sight?

  6. How can we demonstrate that kind of faith in our lives this week?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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