Critic Reviews



Based on 42 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
One of the year’s most delightful moviegoing surprises, a quality family film that rewards young people’s imaginations and reminds us of a time when the term “Disney movie” meant something: namely, wholesome entertainment that inspired confidence in parents and reinforced solid American values.
David Lowery‘s ease with actors and command of tone make Pete’s Dragon one of the best remakes in recent years.
The Film Stage
In capturing childlike wonder through Pete’s eyes, this film has more than a few heartbreaking moments regarding the definition of a home and the people (or fantastical creatures) that give it life. And by keeping things relatively small-scale, David Lowery’s studio debut retains a personal touch with an unceasing supply of magic running through its lovable, full-hearted soul.
There may be individual shots in this movie that cost more than the director’s entire pre-existing output, but make no mistake: This is a David Lowery movie — a movie imbued with the same tactile nature and uniquely American flair for myth-making that characterized his Sundance breakthrough, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.”
It’s a lovely film that resonates all the more so in a summer of louder, more cluttered movies, and knowing that Disney had the confidence to allow Lowery’s vision to flourish is the icing on the cake.
Village Voice
More than anything, this is a slice-of-life tale, whisper-thin but still full of feeling and a generous sense of place. With the world's most adorable dragon at the center of it all.
Lowery’s visual world essentially translates the movie’s message, that magic is everywhere if you allow yourself to see it. It may be a cliché and sappy sentiment, and one we’ve seen again and again in movies, but when done right it can be a beautiful one.
Pete’s Dragon sports an undeniably old-fashioned, even slightly square demeanour, but even when that aura feels a tad forced, Lowery’s loving care gives the movie a likeable, small-scale charm.
Slant Magazine
It abandons its subtlety en route to becoming a moralistic screed about the preservation of the nuclear family.
Haphazard plotting and seriously undernourished character development aside, none of the emotional stakes have been planted deeply enough to elicit audience involvement in young Pete’s plight.

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