With live-action adaptations of classic Disney films currently being all the rage, it looks like its time to see how this works with Disney films that aren't necessarily classics. Pete's Dragon from 1977 may have its fans and some star turns from Mickey Rooney and Shelly Winters, among others, but it's not a film with the same massive following that will likely turn 2017's Beauty and the Beast into one of the biggest films next year. With that in mind, it helps that this upcoming Pete's Dragon remake looks pretty good.
Given that director David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) has already been tapped by Disney to handle the Peter Pan live-action remake, Disney must either be happy with what they've seen of this film or just find Lowery to be a good guy to work with. Whatever the case, he seems to have a good handle on this film. While it could end up feeling a bit corny or old-fashioned (like this past January's Disney rescue film Finest Hours), there is something about seeing a boy and his pet dragon that excites me.
The terrific cast helps, as you have Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Robert Redford all around to lend credence to a remake of a film that featured a goofy-looking dragon and Mickey Rooney mugging. It also helps to finally see the dragon in action and enjoy the take. The cast all seem to be game without winking at the camera and the look of the dragon is enjoyable different (it has shaggy green hair).
There are only some hints of humor, but the film looks to be playing up a more grounded feel that emphasizes the characters, which is certainly welcome. Ideally it can hold onto this, while still being fun and enjoyable. It may be coming out late in the summer, but perhaps this is the low-key Disney film many folks will respond to favorably. We'll see in a couple months.
Pete's Dragon hits hits theaters on August 12, 2016.