Yesterday, as I did some editing and laundry, I thought I'd see if there were any new releases to keep me company. Since we don't usually catch movies in the theater, it's a safe bet we haven't seen the new releases.
I saw Pete's Dragon as a selection and decided to give it a shot.
After the first two minutes, it had me.
I know I saw the original Pete's Dragon back in the 1977, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you much about it other than the dragon was animated m(a la the dancing penguins in Mary Poppins...) and in a rare onscreen appearance, Helen Reddy played the lead.
I think not remembering the original helped me enjoy the new version even more. I was able to come into it without comparing it to the original, or how I felt when I saw it as a teenager. The sad but sweet opening reminded me of Disney's Up, though not similar a story, more the feeling I had watching the beginnings of both films.
Of course, as the story continued, I worried this was to be a weapon where anti-commercialism, pro-environmental themes are used to drive the narrative. Those themes are there, but understated. What I did see was a storyline about an orphan (spoiler alert...) raised in the forest by a dragon and how society is not yet prepared to accept a reality not easily understood or controllable.
It's rare when you experience something unexpected, that entertains. As a writer I many times spend a lot of energy overanalyzing a story, its pace, its message. But when I watched Pete's Dragon, I sat back and enjoyed a simple story about a boy and his friend. That's what made it great.
* Photos used without permission from Disney's Pete's Dragon