Walt Disney returns to the big screen this week with the debut of their latest title, a story about a boy and his dragon. Pete’s Dragon is the latest release from the animation studio, a name which audiences may recognise; primarily due to the fact the name is shared with a 1977 Walt Disney release. Pete and his dragon made their first appearance in 1977, the original version of the film being a live action musical starring an animated large green dragon and his relationship with a human boy. Soon the duo became best friends and set off on a musical adventure, featuring a number of catchy, upbeat tunes. Now, several decades later, Walt Disney Studio’s have decided to revitalise the classic tale, this time, aimed to have a modern twist.
As the 2016 release of Pete’s Dragon approaches, Walt Disney aims to bring their tale about a boy’s relationship with a dragon to modern audiences. In this reboot, Walt Disney aims to modernise the look of Pete’s Dragon by rendering the large green creature in realistic computer generated imagery (CGI), in an attempt to seamlessly blend it with live action cinematography. Chosen to helm the reinvention of Pete’s Dragon, Walt Disney hired director David Lowery, selected by the studio after his feature film caught their attention.
Director David Lowery and Walt Disney Studio aim to convey a sense of magical wonder, capturing the imagination of audiences as they witness a mythical green dragon soar through this cinematic adventure. David Lowery recruits a talented cast which may reach out to audience’s inner child through this tale of innocence, adventure and imagination.
Residing at the centre of the story is Pete (Oakes Fegley), who is introduced as a mysterious boy from the forest with claims of living alongside a green dragon. Soon forest ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) encounters the curious child and the two gradually build a relationship and trust begin to form. Further fanning the flames of mystery and adding a semblance of credit to Pete’s claims is senior wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford). Mr. Meacham is depicted as a peculiar man with a penchant for telling tall tales of a fierce dragon who lives in the woods, something the local folk assumes to be fantasy; however, as the adventure unfolds, the truth behind Pete and Mr. Meacham’s fabled claims are soon revealed.
At the heart of the story is the relationship between Pete and his dragon as they share desire to belong, a theme which permeates this latest adaptation. Closely related to the theme of belonging is family; a ubiquitous theme which may be seen throughout Walt Disney Studio films. Further adding to the cocktail of themes may be the way in which Pete’s Dragon aims to convey childhood wonder amidst themes of family and belonging. Audiences may recognise Pete’s perspective, one of awe which may lend the film a grandiose feel of adventure.
All these strands aim to come together in an enthralling manner, one which aims to captivate audiences and revive the story of Pete and his fabled dragon. Modern audiences may finally be offered the opportunity to witness this magical tale of innocence, family and belonging. Walt Disney Studio’s and David Lowery have given this classic tale renewed life, as audiences may find themselves engrossed in mystery, adventure and childlike wonder. By placing the story in a modern setting and utilising CGI to portray Pete’s Dragon, a sense of realism may be achieved which might help audiences connect on an emotional level, placing further emphasis on the themes presented.
Pete’s Dragon aims to release worldwide 12th August 2016.
How does Pete’s Dragon modernise an existing IP for a new Generation?