Kids’ View Review: Pete’s Dragon: 35th Anniversary Edition

This has got to be the cutest and most heart-warming show ever. Not only is the movie fun, but the animation is stunning – even though it is over two decades old.

Why is the movie so beautiful? It is about an orphan named Pete who is trying to escape his cruel guardians and comes across an invisible dragon named Elliot. The moment the musical number about what the family will do when they catch Pete ends, Elliot appears and nearly knocks your socks off.

Elliot is brightly colored, obviously animated, and looks rather out of place in the live action film. It was bizarre seeing Pete interact with Elliot as if there was no barrier between the live action and animation, but I soon realized that most children would easily imagine a dragon as a cute and comical Disney-like character and it fit perfectly.

If a child’s imaginary dragon was thrown into reality, wouldn’t it be bright, cheerful, and not the least bit realistic? The only problem is that Elliot is invisible half of the time – which makes the movie occasionally seem rather cheap. Also, perhaps due to the time the movie was shot, things close to Elliot sometimes flicker, but other than that the visuals are pretty impressive.

The musical scores range from good to dreadful. Songs like “I love you too” were catchy and matched the feel good theme of the film, but songs like “Candle on the Water” were slow and rather obnoxious. Kids will go nuts for the doo-wop dragon and singing boy, but they will possibly fall asleep during the obnoxiously slow song sung by a lady on the light house.

Other songs were okay (“I Thought I Saw a Dragon”), and overall the musical scores aren’t bad for a film from the 70s. The story is rather cliché when Elliot is not included. Pete is an orphan just like every other Disney boy, and he finds a lady who, very strangely, would make a good mother.

If it was not for Elliot the dragon, I don’t think it would have been anything unique. Elliot throws the entire show upside down and creates chaos, from destroying fences to “accidently” becoming visible and scaring a man senseless.

Overall, this movie is pure classic. A couple of minor blotches don’t matter, everybody should find this imaginative and heartwarming. 

It is surprising how well the film holds up after three decades, which should be the genuine Disney mark. The delightful film gets 4 stars; let’s hope it holds up until the end of the world.

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Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.