Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Disney is remaking Pete's Dragon

Do you know the first Walt Disney Studios feature film to be released for public distribution on video tape? It was Pete's Dragon which was made available for VHS and Betamax video cassette players in 1980.  This was one of the very few movies my parents ever purchased for our VCR, back in the days when everyone rented movies from video stores because purchasing them was absurdly expensive, and I watched it more times than I can count...so much in fact the cassette tape eventually just wore out.  It was probably a good investment for my parents as we'd gone to the theater so many times to see the movie at my urging.  Compared to today's computer generated imagery Pete's Dragon was very rudimentary yet for it being the late 70's/early 80's the combination of its special effects, Disney animation, and the Apple Dumpling Gang / Escape from Witch Mountain vibe of its live action scenes made it a mesmerizing film for a 6 year old boy to see.  I still remember excitedly stomping around during my elementary school's Halloween parade wearing my bright green and purple Ben Cooper costume of Elliot my mom let me pick out at the Ben Franklin Five & Dime wishing I could fly, breath fire and turn invisible like the dragon in the movie.

Based upon my childhood fondness of Pete's Dragon, it was exciting to find out that Walt Disney Studios is producing a new version of the movie this summer that I'll be able to enjoy with my children who are at the age I was when the original movie was popular.  This new movie is arriving August 12, 2016 to theaters across the United States will be a re-imagined telling of the tale with a modernistic tone to it.  The original film's musical numbers, slap stick comedy, and cartoonish animation will be replaced with stunning imagery, a more sophisticated script and incredible life like special effects within this new incarnation of Pete's Dragon.  Disney has been pretty hush-hush up to now on details of this brand new Pete's Dragon movie but has just recently released a poster, movie stills and a teaser reel.

Pete's Dragon will be rated PG.  It's story revolves around old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) who for years 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 Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott 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.

I hope that my kids find the new Pete's Dragon as magical as the original movie that I enjoyed so much at their age.  For more information, visit movies.disney.com/petes-dragon-2016

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