Pete’s Dragon

A defiantly old-fashioned reworking of Disney’s late-70s cartoon/live action romp – it’s simple, well-meaning and I imagine young(ish) kids will like it; the CGI dragon Elliot, who lives in the woods somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, is very non-threatening, even when he is breathing fire. I guess it’s easy to be cynical about the film’s strong whiff of  homey Americana, its retro-Disney tone and its cute little mop-headed lead (Oakes Fegley), but Pete’s Dragon cheered me up on a cold January night, and I imagine it’s the kind of film that’ll cheer lots of people up or make already-happy people even happier. Oh, and there’s plenty of fun to be had comparing just how convincing (or unconvincing) actors look when their characters are supposed to be staring in wonder at a giant green dragon; Robert Redford is a natural, and genuinely looks like he believes said beast is right in front of him, but dear oh dear Karl Urban and Bryce Dallas Howard. (***)