Pete’s Dragon [2016] ★★½

 petes-dragon-poster-2A Disney movie in every aspect, “Pete’s Dragon” is bound to entertain young kids as they discover the magical world of little Pete and his only friend: a dragon named Elliot.  They both live in the dense forest of the Pacific Northwest, away from human contact, until one day, a park ranger (Bryce Dallas Howard) finds the young boy and takes him into town. For special effects alone, there’s no problem at all: they’re simply spectacular and look extremely good in 3D. And the performances are first rate: director David Lowery gives everyone the chance to shine, from  Oakes Fegley as young Pete, to Robert Redford as an old-timer who, many years ago, had an encounter with a dragon and has been telling stories about it ever since. But at one point, I wanted the movie to stop playing it safe and start provoking something more than emotions and beautiful special effects. By playing it too sweet, “Pete’s Dragon” falls short in my opinion. It’s still a solid kids movie, and I’m sure they will have a great time watching it.

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