Christmas is right around the corner, and like many of you, Blu-rays are usually a big hit in our household on several fronts. There’s the obvious gift idea as we love to collect our favorite movies to enjoy again and again. It’s also a great time of year to curl up with a cup of cocoa, or a bowl of popcorn and fudge (or all three, I won’t judge!) and enjoy a movie at home. If any of these describes you as well, we have another movie you need to add to your holiday shopping list, as the Blu-ray edition of Pete’s Dragon releases today (November 29, 2016).
Over the last few years, Disney has been hard at work remaking many of their animated classics into live-action versions including the summer release of the blockbuster hit, The Jungle Book. Some of the remade movies, such as Cinderella, stick to the original stories in many ways. They still manage throw in a few surprises along the way, but for the most part, they are mostly copies of the original. With others like Maleficent, Disney has created a movie with an entirely different point of view presented. I’m not sure if I can say I’m a fan of one method over the other, as we’ve loved each and every one of them. What I can safely say is that Pete’s Dragon is unique to date amongst the remakes as it is a total “reimagining” of the story. Perhaps this is because the original 1977 classic is already a mix of live-action and animation and Disney realized that they needed to go a different direction rather than making it completely live-action. Maybe they simply wanted to do something different, but whatever the motivation was, the screenplay by David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks really works. It’s based on a screenplay by Malcolm Marmorstein (Return from Witch Mountain, 1978; Pete’s Dragon, 1977), which was based on a story by Seton I. Miller.
One of the reasons we love Pete’s Dragon is because it’s a very safe family-oriented film. It’s perfect for the holidays, as you can watch it with grandma, grandpa, your teenage nephew, 40 somethings that love the original and the youngest viewers will enjoy it as well. It’s simply a nice feel-good story that everyone will love. With that said, like many Disney movies, this one begins with a tragedy. Pete looses his family in an accident, but it doesn’t take long for him to find comfort in a dragon named Elliot and a forest ranger named Natalie. It’s handled extremely well, so I don’t anticipate it being an issue to upset even the smallest viewers. I’m not going to spoil any additional details from the film, I just wanted to give a very, very mild warning to this and a few other tissue-grabbing moments.
I’ve already mentioned that we love collecting Blu-rays of our favorite films, and one of the reasons is because of the Bonus Features (a full list is located at the bottom of the review. For Pete’s Dragons, the “Notes to Self” bonus was probably our favorite. It’s a diary that was kept by Director David Lowery during the film production. Bloopers are always a hit, especially with the younger audience members, as are the music videos that they’ll probably watch more than a few times.
Pete’s Dragon is another excellent live-action remake of a Disney animated classic. It’s the perfect Blu-ray for a family film night, and while I already warned you that it can be a bit emotional, it’s good wholesome entertainment for everyone in your family.
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:
- Notes to Self: A Director’s Diary – Director David Lowery narrates the personal diary he kept through the filming of “Pete’s Dragon” in this intimate and fascinating look at the movie’s making.
- Making Magic – Discover fun facts about what went into designing this spectacular, lovable dragon.
- “Disappearing” Moments – The director shares a montage of the film’s “lost” scenes.
- Welcome to New Zealand – Experience the wonders of New Zealand and learn why it’s a magical place to visit … and to make a movie.
- Audio Commentary – Gain an insider perspective from director David Lowery, co-writer Toby Halbrooks and actors Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence.
- Music Videos
“Nobody Knows” by The Lumineers
“Something Wild” by Lindsey Stirling featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
- Making Magic
Product SKUs: Digital HD/SD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, Disney Movies Anywhere,
DVD and On-Demand
Feature Run Time: Approximately 103 minutes
Rating: PG in U.S., PG in CE, and G in CF
Aspect Ratio: Blu-ray Feature Film = 1080p High Definition / Widescreen 2.39:1
DVD Feature Film = Widescreen 2.39:1
Audio: Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA & 2.0 Descriptive Audio,
Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
DVD = English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks,
English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
Languages/Subtitles: Blu-ray = English SDH, Spanish and French
DVD = English SDH, Spanish and French
Disclosure: We received a complimentary copy of this movie. All opinions are our own.