Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

"Darn you Elliott!"

Absolutely charming Disney live-action/cartoon hybrid, this time about a boy and his sometimes invisible dragon.

I saw this movie about 30 years ago when they screened it at my school, and having just watched it again 24 hours ago, I find it hard to punch a hole in. It's a gorgeous helping of joy, set in a world where everything looks and sounds happy and colourful, and even the bad guys get catchy songs.

Yes, the villains manage to be likable, funny and pathetic in all the right doses, yet still come across as capable of winning easily. Jim Dale as Dr Terminus particularly does well here, with some enormous tounge-twisters to pull off, but y'know what - so does everyone else!

The whole cast is on top form, not least Sean Marshall, who as the Pete of the title absolutely buries himself in the role. His conviction is obviously pivotal to the whole illusion, so it's equally impressive that the artwork of Elliott the dragon is so carefully realised too.

Elliott has shadows. Elliot has a reflection. Elliott even has a vocal actor whose clumsy stumbling around half-words and other noises helps to make the part reminiscent of Mr Bean. I thought I picked up on the odd moment of reused animation, and a lower frame-rate for it, but the way that this whole film came together carried it all off effortlessly.

And what fantastic songs too - It's A Brazzle-Dazzle Day, especially sung by Helen Reddy, must be one of the finest songs ever written for film. I could describe more about it, but there's just no misinterpreting a title like that one.

I Swear I Saw A Dragon and Bill Of Sale stay with me too.

And what a great strong ending. You just don't get those nowadays.

I see now from wikipedia that in watching the TV version I was missing out on maybe as much as another three-quarters of an hour from the original roadshow theatrical release. I don't mind, partly because I'm still in such a good mood from it, and partly because it means that one day I may get to see it again in its entirety, if that version ever gets rereleased. Either or, I'm happy.

Verdict: Ten out of ten. Pete's Dragon is on fire!

"A dragon is just another stranger in search of a friend."

Available, in some form or other, here.
(some scenes may be invisible)

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