By Kylie Stamper
Pete’s Dragon is a new live-action remake from Disney that was released on August 12, 2016. Pete’s Dragon follows the story of a young boy, Pete, who lives in the woods in the Pacific Northwest area with his dragon friend, Elliot. The movie received a 7.2/10 rating on IMDb, an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 3.5/4 star rating on the Ebert scale.
Emotionally, this movie starts out a lot like ‘Up’. It starts with a nice family of two young parents and a young boy and they are going on an adventure…until the parents get so caught up in the beauty of their child and forget to watch the road as a deer meanders onto the road and within just the first few minutes of the movie, Pete’s parents are dead and he is left alone in a scary, unknown forest. In addition to the horror of watching your parents die, Pete encounters a pack of wolves in the forest. In his scurry to escape the wolves, he finds a dragon that changes colors and can turn invisible. Instead of running and trying to get away like any normal kid, he stays, earns the dragon’s trust, and eventually becomes best friends with the dragon.
A recurring symbol in this movie is Pete’s book, titled “Elliot gets lost.” This book taught Pete how to read and it is also where Elliot the Dragon got his name.
I watched this movie on Free Movie Night on Sept. 21. There were a total of five people in the theater, including me. While most people went to see Bad Moms, Sully, or Don’t Breathe, I heard from a lot of people who were interested in Pete’s Dragon, but didn’t want to be judged for going to a “kid’s movie.” The thing was, though, this wasn’t a kids movie. It took a little bit of time to get into the storyline and to figure out where it was headed, but after a while, the movie grew in intensity and the emotions ran high.
Years after the death of Pete’s parents, when Pete is 11 years old, he hears lumberjacks cutting down trees near his cave and in his curiosity, he stalks closer and closer to the edge of the forest. A young girl named Natalie, the daughter of the site leader, spots Pete and chases him into the forest, leading to a search of the forest in order to find the girl. This led to Pete and Natalie climbing a tree, both children falling out of the tree, and Pete being taken, without his knowledge, to the town hospital where he wakes up and escapes again before being caught by police.
If you can guess what any “charming” lumberjack would do next, they hunt down this dragon, tie it up, take it in to their lumberyard boasting about their latest find, and they keep the dragon chained up in a warehouse. Not cool.
In the midst of all of this, Pete ends up figuring out what it’s like to have a human family after so many years alone. It’s like the scene in E.T. where the alien’s heart lights up because he feels loved, and then you cry. You just get the warm fuzzies.
Skipping ahead a little bit, the end of the movie is a tearjerker. Of course, things happen that cause the bad guy to see the good in the dragon and his entire outlook changes. The dragon lives, Pete and Elliot share a very touching moment after they return to the forest, Pete returns to his new adoptive family, and, through your tear-filled eyes, you watch the closing dialogue basically saying that Elliot the dragon was free and no longer in harm’s way and the only way to find him was through Pete because Pete knew, he always knew where Elliot was deep down in his heart. And then you smile a little bit at the end, wipe your tears, and reconsider why dragons don’t actually exist in our world.
Kylie Stamper is a senior majoring in communication. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.