Based off of an old book and a 1977 original film, this 2016 movie is about a five-year old boy (now 11) name Pete who had to leave the life he was growing up in when he is involved in a car accident - and rescued by a dragon who looks much fiercer than the wolves that surround the frightened first-grader, well, except for the fact the dragon doesn't growl like the wolves and scares the wolves away. Pete decides to name the dragon off of the name of the pet in his survived children's book of adventure: Elliot. And the two are the best of friends and support each other. However, even with Elliot's invisible magic, it's hard to stay away from the lumber company approaching Pete's home, and even more when Pete is discovered by a girl named Natalie.
Pete's Dragon probably has a shot at being one of the most innocent movies of the year, perhaps more innocent than the latest Winnie the Pooh special. Perhaps. There is a splendid scene of goofing off with Pete and Elliot that everyone should find enjoyment from. There's also the obvious lumber story that at this point is overdone, but it really makes up for that with the fact that we don't know what's right for Pete any more than the characters do, and that makes who we root for when Pete is on the run from the humans tricky.
It's also kind of charming to have a story with a kid as young and oblivious as Pete put on the big screen this way, because he is most of the focus of the film and the film takes its time to address that. Kids might remember the first time they tried to use a spoon when they watch this film. And like Rise of the Guardians, this film does a good job of telling kids and their families that there might actually really be unicorns and princesses and, well, dragons, out there somewhere, and most of the scenes with Elliot are pretty, pretty, well done, not just because of his awesome design but what happens around him to the humans when he is around, what the wilderness is like, what he does to his environment.
There are a few cases of, ish, though. One is the film puts in a side story about where Pete should rightly be and Elliot notices this with a Shrek-like misunderstanding, but the movie doesn't really build on that. I mean, it does, but it does a little late, I also wasn't as impressed with the climax as I expected to be. I especially don't really like a fakeout climax like this movie has.
There's also the occasional matter of having too neat and tidy an ending. Pete and Elliot have a very heartbreaking moment that will take a few days for me to forget about, but if it stopped it at there and let the kids shed a few tears, sort of like how Super 8 ended, then perhaps the kids would've shed hundreds of tears. A million years ago, I gave an F to Bridge to Terabithia, mainly from the way it was so depressing that I couldn't see any child not being scarred by it. There was also poor storytelling, but that was the main reason. Pete's Dragon won't make any kids cry their eyeballs out and they will cry a little bit too; it's just, it could've been more powerful if it ended two minutes before it really ended.
In the end, I'm recommending Pete's Dragon because it sets off to be a feel good movie for kids. Is it as awesome and action packed as Captain America: Civil War? Uh-uh. Does it try to be? Uh-uh. IS IT a feel good movie? Yep.