Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to see this movie with my family. All opinions are my own.
An honest review from a mom with 3 girls, aged 7, 7 and 5. Should you take younger kids to see this movie?
I remember loving the original Pete’s Dragon when I was a kiddo, but I barely remember the details of it. So when we were headed off to see the live action version, it was almost as if I had nothing to compare it to. My kids are 7,7 and 5 and I really wasn’t sure if I should take them to see this at first. Some of the more recent Disney movies have been quite scary, so I made sure we watched every available trailer on this movie and I watched their reactions. It was comforting to know that the dragon is FRIENDLY to Pete, but I wasn’t sure about any other violence that would occur.
In this movie, Grace, a forest ranger, grew up with her father telling this crazy story about how he had an encounter with a dragon decades before. No one ever believed the story, especially Grace who spends a lot of time in the forest surrounding them. I loved the quote by Grace’s father, played by Robert Redford. “If you go through life only seeing what’s in front of you–you’re going to miss out”.
After some unfortunate events (which were QUITE disturbing to my kids), Pete is left in the forest alone, until he meets Elliot, a furry, friendly dragon. They take care of each other and have fun playing in nature. Elliot does really steal the show and the way they Disney created him was amazing. My girls were smiling and loved the scenes with Pete and Elliot playing together. They love that he can fly!
When Grace’s fiance’s company starts construction in the forest to develop the area, she tries to stop it in any way she can. One day, Pete is spotted by her daughter Natalie while visiting the construction site. No one can believe Pete has been living in the woods alone for 6 years–he is a mystery to them. Once he says that he has been living with Elliot, and draws a photo of a dragon, Grace knows she has to investigate more.
I won’t spoil the rest of the movie, but I will warn you: there are some violent scenes. Although they are shooting tranquilizer darts, people are using guns to hunt Elliot. Also, he is captured and my girls were covering their eyes quite a bit.
My girls said they liked the movie in the end, I think it helps we watched ET recently on a family night. It has that nostalgic feel from the 80s. I was even questioning the decade this was portraying, it was kind of ambiguous. The music was also nostalgic, very folksy and light.
Is 3D necessary? No, I truly kept taking off my glasses during the film to see if maybe we weren’t seeing a 3D movie. I didn’t know any special effects that jumped out at us or made it seem cooler. This had the worst 3D effects we’ve seen so far.
Should kids under 8 see this? It really depends on your child. My girls covered their eyes quite a bit, mostly because they weren’t sure what the guns were going to do–they were concerned for Elliot. If your kids can handle movies like ET or Sound of Music, you should be fine. Nothing was bloody or more than PG violent. I would say definitely 5 is the youngest I would bring.
Is it worth seeing in theaters? The scenery is amazing, but I don’t think you really need to run right out and see it. I would wait for a discount theater or even Redbox. I am glad that Disney is doing more live action films, but this will not go up with the classics.