HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
Old
   
 
Newest Articles
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
   
 
  Pete's Dragon Secret Friends
Year: 1977
Director: Don Chaffey
Stars: Sean Marshall, Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Jane Kean, Jim Backus, Charles Tyner, Jeff Conaway, Gary Morgan, Cal Bartlett, Charlie Callas, Walter Barnes, Al Checco, Henry Slate, Jack Collins, Robert Easton
Genre: Musical, Comedy, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: It's the dead of night in a Maine forest, and it looks as if orphan Pete (Sean Marshall) is flying through the trees unaided, but he's actually being carried by something unseen. He is being chased by the dreaded Gogans, led by the matriarch Ma Gogan (Shelley Winters), who want him as their slave having "bought" him unscrupulously, but Pete has a secret weapon, and it's the creature that has helped him escape. He can turn invisible, breathe fire and fly, but he's Pete's best - and only - friend. He's Elliott and he's a bona fide, one hundred percent dragon.

Disney was headed into the doldrums by 1977, not as bad as it would get in the eighties, but nevertheless it was felt that their output was growing less impressive with every release. Of course, they were still far more successful than some of the other Hollywood studios, but this seemed to be on the back of a past history enjoyed under the tutelage of Walt, who by this time was long gone. And so it was that when Pete's Dragon was released, it garnered unimpressed reviews and a general shaking of the head that this was what Disney were now reduced to.

But wait, because many of the children who were taken to see it at the cinema, or watched it on home video (it was the first Disney film to appear on the medium) actually thoroughly enjoyed it. It was certainly a step up from the usual live action fare from the House of Mouse - which mostly had taken the form of underwhelming and supposedly wholesome comedies that tested the patience of much of the audience - and had the added attraction of featuring an animated character as its hero's sidekick. Despite the detractors' opinion that even Elliott was substandard, he was an affectionate creation far preferable to the CGI he would have been rendered in if made today.

Don Bluth was the director of animation here, and he was no slouch, so how bad could it really have been? In truth, it was far from a classic, with weak songs (and plenty of them), a tendency towards mawkish sentiment, and the dragon of the title offscreen for too long, and even when he was present he was conveniently - for the budget - invisible. Brightening things up, however, were a troupe of reliable character actors, playing as broadly as the slapstick. Best among them was Jim Dale as the villainous Dr Terminus, the owner of a medicine show along with his assistant Red Buttons who when he realises that Elliott is genuine, wants to capture him to make him into various cures.

And not only that, but the Gogans are still on Pete's trail, though they only turn up again towards the end, just when they thought you'd forgotten about them. Luckily, also present there's the duo of lighthouse keeper Lampie (such imaginative names!) played by Mickey Rooney as a comedy drunk, and his virtuous daughter Nora (Helen Reddy) who is pining for a fiancé lost at sea and of course the perfect mother figure for the young protagonist. Snappy this is not, especially in its longest version, and the mischievous Elliott is something of a wanton vandal, antics we're supposed to laugh along with, but as an imaginary friend who grows more real for the people Pete meets he struck a chord in many who warmed to him, offscreen and on. Pete's Dragon was never going to supplant Mary Poppins in the live action combined with animation pantheon, but its heart was in the right place.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4204 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Don Chaffey  (1917 - 1990)

British director best known for directing fantasy favourites Jason and the Argonauts and One Million Years B.C, both of which featured groundbreaking Ray Harryhausen effects. Chaffey also directed Hammer's Viking Queen, but much of his work was in television, both in the UK (The Prisoner, Man In a Suitcase) and, later, the US (Charlie's Angels, CHiPs, Airwolf). Also made kids' favourites Greyfriars Bobby and Pete's Dragon for Disney.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: