Since the beginning, Disney has been evolving the technique of mixing live action and animation, but rarely has this blending come together so magically as with their 1977 film, Pete’s Dragon.
Pete (Sean Marshall) is an orphan boy who was bought by a mean family, the Gogan’s, lead by the mother, Lena (Shelley Winters). A magical mischievous dragon named Elliot comes to his rescue and helps him escape. The two arrive in the small port village of Passamaquoddy where Elliot’s monkeyshines get Pete in trouble with all the townsfolk. That is until he meats Nora (Helen Reddy) the lighthouse keeper, who befriends Pete and takes him in.
But Pete doesn’t get his happy ending quite yet. Dr. Terminus (Jim Dale), a shyster and his assistant Hoagy (Red Buttons) come to town to swindle the villagers. When they learn about Elliot they want to kill him and chop him up for elixir parts. Then the Gogan’s roll into town demanding Pete back. Terminus and the Gogan’s team together with the annoyed townsfolk to trap Elliott and get rid of him once and for all. But Pete and Elliott have other plans.
The acting isn’t the best and the songs aren’t the most memorable, but the story is so magical and heart warming that you really can’t help but love it. It’s a great kids’ film with a wonderful message about family and there is humor in there that adults will enjoy as well.
Also, the technical skills of mixing the animation with the live action really is a marvel here and is very pleasurable experience to behold. Don Bluth’s animation of Elliott is wonderful and the comedic masters like Red Buttons and Mickey Rooney are hilarious.
Pete’s Dragon is truly a magical film for children of all ages.
The film is presented in 1.66:1 widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. The film looks good to a point; I did notice some dirt in a few shots but it did not distract from the viewing experience.
Brazzle Dazzle Effects: Behind Disney’s Movie Magic: (25 min.) Actor Sean Marshall narrates how Disney developed their live action/animation techniques.
Deleted Storyboard Sequence: “Terminus and Hoagy Hunt Elliott”: (2 min.) A cute scene but it makes sense why it was cut.
Original Song Concept: “Boo Bop Bopbop Bop (I Love You, Too)”: (2 min.) A demo recording of the song. Very different from what’s heard in the film, thus it makes for an interesting listen.
Original Demo Recordings: (7 min.) You get alternate versions of “Brazzle Dazzle Day” and “Every Little Piece” and the deleted song “The Greatest Star Of All.” The songs are played and text notes about the songs appear on the screen.
Promotional Record: (12 min.) Pop versions of four songs from the film were recorded and released on a 7″ record to promote the music in the film. Those versions of the songs are presented here. “It’s Not Easy,” “Brazzle Dazzle Day,” “There’s Room For Everyone” and “Candle On The Water.” These are kind of fun to listen to.
Where’s Elliott?: The Disappearing Dragon Game: Follow the clues to find the hiding Elliott. Play through the game twice and get a special video treat about dragons.
Pete’s Dragon Art Galleries
Trailers: (2 min.) Different trailers for Pete’s Dragon.
About Pete’s Dragon: Text about the production of the film.
Excerpts from Disney Family Album and The Plausible Impossible: (5 min.) Honestly, I have no idea why these are on here.
Lighthouse Keeping (7 min.) A Donald Duck cartoon that takes place in a lighthouse. This is pretty funny.
This is by no means a perfect film, but it is very magical and heart warming. It’s a wonderful example of mixing animation and live action and it’s a cute story as well. Kids are certain to enjoy it and their parents will most likely have a good time too.
Disney presents Pete’s Dragon: High-Flying Edition. Directed by Don Chaffey. Animation Directed by Don Bluth. Written by Malcolm Marmorstein. Based on a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field. Starring Sean Marshall, Helen Reddy, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters and Jim Dale. Running time: 129 minutes. Rated G. Originally released in 1977. Released on DVD: August 18, 2009. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: Disney, Mickey Rooney