Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Well, well, well. It was going to happen eventually. With the remake/reboot craze at near chaotic levels it was only a matter of time before Disney looked back at their lesser-known, but still recognizable films and now they’re developing a Pete’s Dragon remake.
You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of the original than me. I’m sure they exist and cosplay at Disney events as Lampy or sing Candle on the Water on the subway, but I haven’t met them. Pete’s Dragon was the very first film I saw in a movie theater and was a staple on VHS throughout my childhood.
You’d think I had a fascination with New England since two of my most watched movies as a child were Jaws and Pete’s Dragon and that might be true, but I don’t feel the need to pilgrimage or anything.
The movie still has a big place in my heart. I own an original animation cel from the film and I’m unapologetic in my adoration for this goofy little kid’s flick from the ‘70s. So, you’d think I’d be the first person to get screaming mad at the concept of a remake, but oddly I’m not.
Here’s the thing, there’s no way to make a movie like Pete’s Dragon anymore. I just don’t see that many unapologetically heartfelt half-animated musicals around anymore, so whatever this remake turns out to be isn’t going to step on the toes of the original. The filmmakers are going to be forced to do their own thing with the basic conceit of a runaway orphan boy with an “imaginary” dragon friend.
The filmmaker I refer to is David Lowery, whose debut feature Ain’t Them Bodies Saints with Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck and Ben Foster premiered at Sundance this year. Lowery and his writing partner Toby Halbrooks have been hired to script, according to Deadline. It’s unclear whether Lowery will direct as well, but it’s not such an odd fit when you consider his short films (Pioneer and St. Nick) dealt with the imagination of children.
Lowery commented on Twitter that he’s hoping Elliott will be a practical effect, which would be a pleasant surprise, but I’ll be shocked if they don’t go CG with him.
The core of getting this right is selling that friendship between Pete and Elliott. That’s what the original did so well. I just hope that they keep some of the silliness of the Dr. Terminus/Hoagy duo and the more than vaguely threatening abusive hillbilly family element. Other than that, I don’t have too much to demand. I just want them to make a good movie if they’re going to try to revisit this particular film. That’s all. Easy, right?