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Pete’s Dragon Review (2016) | A Beautiful Retelling of Petes Dragon 1977

Pete’s Dragon is a beautifully revived and embellished idea that had gone lost in humdrums of life. Disney digs up a lost tale, primps, preens and touches it and lo! It turns green. Green’s a pun-wink of course.


Enchanting direction! The depth of David Lowery’s direction is simply mind-boggling. His images speak of a winsome quiet, a rare calmness that allows you to feel the warmth of every scene that he tries to show. It is not rushed and retains plentiful focus. It allows you to feast on the magnificence of his settings.

He manages to whisk it beautifully with Elliott‘s, the Dragon’s puppy like demenaour. His ideas can be read through his frames, those that canter on the strides of “What would be the next possible course of action?” He does a fine blend of what is plausible and whimsical and manages to elicit a stunning feat that looks good both in imagination and theory.


Pete’s Dragon brings in the vanguard Oakes Fegley of the Fort Bliss fame, cashes in on his forever seeking eyes. He makes his character quite endearing to watch with that sad comportment he carries. We see him in that mood often throughout the movie, and the yen in his eyes to be home, the longing in his eyes as he looks up searching for Elliott, will have you feel sorry for him on numerous occasions.

still of Oakes Fegley in Petes Dragon movie

Bryce Dallas Howard’s gargantuan affairs continue as she finds herself wrapped in the totem of another reptilian movie right after she did Jurassic World last year. She plays Grace, the lady who tries to help the lost boy in the woods. Her’s is quite a relatable character something you would love to do any day – care for a child who has no whereabouts of his family or, for that to matter, life itself.

Karl Urban as Gavin brings home that nefarious element to the Dragon tale, claiming his pointless right over what he finds and captures. His is a comprehensible role, that you can put a pin to, and get along with, given the circumstances.

Wes Bentley could be found so much engaged in his acting, that you don’t find him doing much in the movie. Robert Redford as Meacham has Dragon glories to share, and his thoughtful comportment will have you listening to him just as kids listened to him in rapt attention. Oona Laurence plays Natalie quite convincingly too, and supports Pete right from the moment she finds him.


still of Elliott and Pete in Petes Dragon movie

Last but not the least: The Dragon Elliott. If you have a thing for dogs, you are going to fall for it instantly. Elliot’s acts are just like a dog’s, with its postural manners, playful acts, seeking eyes; everything is going to put it into a contour of an adorable puppy. Its disappearing act comes straight from the 1977 movie, which Disney decided to go with. There are sporadic moments of tranquility when the green dragon flies to show nature at its true flair to Pete. Those images leave you with a sense of contentment. Love Elliott has is unconditional. But it becomes ungainly thoughtful too.


If you are in the right rhythm of the movie, there are some instances there that you cannot certainly miss. Like the time Pete ends up in town only to storm away in his rare window of opportunity. You can read him well in those fleeting instances where he is cornered by a pacifying Grace, as he howls, nay, wails in pain. That yelp is meant for Elliott but gets lost in thin air. It is so impactful that it will definitely hurl you towards a whirlwind of sympathy for the poor child.

I loved the direction where the falling of Pete with a thud gets followed up brilliantly by the waking up of the Dragon. You can almost feel their connection. Also, the way the movie begins, with that abysmal tragedy that has been so beautifully shown through Pete’s perspective inside the car. The book that Pete carries “Elliott Gets Lost” literally defines his life, and stays at all times, well complemented by the surreal creature.

The fact that the dragon sneezes a bucketful of mucus instead of fire brings home that elemental twist of humour that is laughable. But he is a dragon after all, and he can only take so much. That monstrous mien in the end is aptly fit and only once, just when things begin to head south. However, Disney doesn’t fail to celebrate Elliott with all the goodies, finding its soul to forgive it in a split second.


This is where the movie truly scores as well. Not only is the score simply soothing to the ears, but it constantly puts you in a room full of jocularity. It has beautiful songs well edited. Lowery places them in right areas that accentuate the theme of Petes Dragon further. One of the most gorgeous songs that the movie retains is the Petes Dragon Song by Bonnie Prince Billy the lyrics of which you can find here: Lyrics of Dragon Song. It will make you fall for it at once. So soothing and artfully written.


If you pay attention to the CGI of the movie, it fails to touch the levels of culmination you might have had in your head, given today’s heightened age of visual effects. Elliott appears to be more fantastical and imaginary. It doesn’t have that primal realism feel to look at, like all those successful reptilian movies in the past that had so beautifully triumphed in visuals.

still of Elliott from Petes Dragon movie

You can’t also oversee the fact 6 years in the wild, and the child still behaves in normalcy. When he finds a group of people coming, he doesn’t run away in sheer fear, also puts things under clouds of doubt. His reaction on finding new things for the first time in town doesn’t get milked enough. He comes straight from the savage world. But still doesn’t carry that bewilderment gaze whilst running and hopping over things he had forgotten all about. Things like that don’t go overlooked when perceived from a pragmatic vantage.

Screenplay of Pete’s Dragon goes to and fro. At times drops us brilliant lines, then most of the times lets its characters speak from their eyes.


Another downside stays with the plot of Pete’s Dragon. It is something you have been constantly fed when a misunderstood beast story is considered. So you see every bit coming. Pete’s Tale is a clichéd story likes of which we had already seen in the form of The Good Dinosaur that Pixar did last year.

But you can’t shake off its backdrop either. It is very plausible which makes it an interesting fiction. It is quite remarkable how every open end in its story gets conjoined.


Pete’s Dragon is a spectacular retelling of the tale that saw the light for the first time in 1977. It doesn’t go dark being a Disney movie, but subtly skips through that part (in the beginning). Petes Dragon incessantly capers around the happy theme that it intends to walk on. Of course, Lowery’s direction makes it all the way better.

If you don’t delve into the clichéd side of it, you are going to love every bit of it. If you are a kid, there is nothing in the world you would want than being bestowed upon a friendly dragon for a pup.

Petes Dragon carries a stunning amiable tone that is outright perfect for your kid. It goes without saying, it is great for the fanciful whims that lurk inside you. A highly recommended movie for everybody.

Check out the trailer of Pete’s Dragon here:

Before I Wake Review (2016) | Fanciful Concept Battered Down by its Flaws

A fantastical whimsy! Before I Wake movie carries a beautiful concept that could have moulded it into a better flick if it were not for its flaws.


Jacob Tremblay is everywhere. His cuteness is a delight to watch. He walks in with a confident mien to deliver extraordinary cutesy bits that are both enthralling and adorable just like he happens to be in person. At the end of the day he is delivering, who’s complaining?

Mike Flanagan’s yet another horror venture packs in a fantastical story that has been well thought of when you pay attention to its profound concept. Dreams coming alive! A fancy world something only a beautiful mind could create. But the big question is how does it all pack in its fictitious capsule?


Starting with the direction, Before I Wake takes off beautifully. But there are elements that gnaw at it gradually stopping it from reaching a charming gleam.

The first one, I am afraid, is none other than Kate Bosworth’s character Jessie. To be really candid, we could have used a better cast here. Even though a tad distant, which was needed for her character, she appeared kind of absent emotionally, for parts where it mattered the most. Thomas Jane, au contraire, fits the bill just fine as Mark.

straight from a movie before i wake butterfly

The second crucial part of the flick was its tangibility. Even though we were wading deep into imaginary waters, you need something natural to give it a palpable feel. It is the natural things that surround it that help a flick get carved in a realistic format, something the movie lacked profusely. You are often forced to wonder, “Why is she not calling the police?” or “Why is she going there?” or “Where is everybody?” I don’t know why but the latter one seems to be a factor that every horror movie overlooks.

When you look at the scary quotient of the movie, it amasses plenty. There are many horrifying bits that are outright chilling. However, if you are trying to look at it as just a horror flick, then don’t. There is nothing here that will continue to haunt you for days. I surmise, it could also be because the movie doesn’t cash in on horror properly, and you could blame the surreal concept that it induces.

Screenplay has nothing remarkable to offer. Good scary movies consider this factor well, so it was a big downer there. Music is good actually. Danny Elfman and The Newton Brothers are the people behind Before I Wake’s score.


To begin with the main story I am assuming everyone is well aware about Cody’s uncanny imagination that brings everything he dreams to life. For the good things he is mostly dreaming butterflies and stuff. He is easily able to manifest living holograms (except that they turn real) of his dream. Whatever thoughts he has been fed before he goes to sleep comes brimming alive too. However, like any other dream, he doesn’t have much control over his thoughts. There is this ghastly element in the story that Cody calls the Cankerman that comes at unseen junctures. It often messes his dreams up, and since the horrifying element becomes a walking live projection too, it can mess with our world.


Jessie becomes obsessed with the powers of Cody and tries to bring her dead son Sean alive. But she isn’t aware about the Canker Man just yet. When she does meet it at one point, in a theatrical series of events, unfortunately Mark ends up paying the price. Mark is swallowed in by the Cankerman, right in front of her, as she passes out. Waking up she finds Cody being taken in by Child Protective Services once again. She is not allowed to meet him, so she steals Cody’s file in hopes to locate him.  It is then she meets Whelan Young, the first foster parent of Cody who has ended up in a mental hospital.


Whelan tells her about his havocking past, a similar story of Canker Man taking his wife away. And no matter what he did afterwards to bring her back to life, by showing Cody pictures of her, he could only manage to bring her impressions back. It is sorry to see him break down trying to reason:

“He was too young. He was too young to even remember her right.”

still of dash mihok as whelan holding her invisible wife in his hands

Whelan then suggests something horrible to her, killing Cody to stop his unrestrained killing. She turns him down immediately, and then leaves. She tries to find more about Cody’s real mother to figure out what could be the reason of Cody’s nightmares.


Meanwhile Cody has been kept along with other children in a foster home. He isn’t deliberately going to sleep as he doesn’t wish anybody harm. So thoughtful a child! Natalie forces an injection of drowsiness on him to get him to sleep.

Jessie is able to get her hands on Cody’s mother’s stuff. There she finds a blue butterfly rag that expounds about his butterfly dreams. She also finds her journal where she finds out more about their relationship. Jessie cleverly finds out about the facility where Cody was held kept captive, and reaches there only to realize that Cody was asleep. (People were held captive in cocoons kind of things, so that gave away!)


As she makes her way further in, she finds elements of Cody’s dreams widespread. There is one rare moment of Jessie’s thoughts that could have projected owing to the fact that she might have shared the dying of Sean incident with Cody. She finds the bathtub wherein Sean had drowned. The presentation there is quite spooky. She moves away knowing it was just a mere projection, and that she is supposed to help Cody.

Amongst other projections, she finds Cody in a room watching Sean drown on TV. She finds her own eyeless projection reaching out for him, and then twisting its head trying to deform Cody into looking like herself. A scene like that could have multiple meanings. I like to take away that to Cody, Jessie’s image was that of a selfish blind woman who was trying to manipulate his dreams into seeing what she wished to see. Thus blinding him from his original vision.  However, if there wasn’t a metaphor there, then I would say that character act doesn’t kind of fit there properly. And it could be deliberately put for mere theatrics. We do get a glimpse of an eyeless Mark again, which could be how Cody must have imagined him after his death which falls in place too.


Moving on she reaches the door behind which Cody was fast asleep. That’s where she encounters the Canker Man again. Just when it was about to consume her, she shows her the Blue Butterfly Toy Rag that Cody was so fond of as a kid.

Still of Canker Man from Before I Wake movie final scene

Now this reasoning kind of baffles you. You see the Canker Man was nothing but a projection of Cody. Its discernment of the Blue Butterfly could be only if Cody could see whatever Canker Man could. So all those wild acts that he did of killing people shouldn’t have actually happened if Cody had control over it.


With the appearance of a sharper memory like that of a Blue Butterfly from the past, Cody became confused, and that unpleasant nightmarish memory became a pleasant one, meaning Canker Man was defeated. However, this doesn’t mean Canker Man was killed for sure. Because there was no reasoning gavel put on him just yet. Also, I am pretty sure had Cody slept again right after that, even the Blue Butterfly wouldn’t have been able to defeat the Cankerman again.

We see Jessie hugging the Cankerman which was a pretty lame thing to do. Anyone would have freaked out, but I guess since she realized it was nothing but Cody’s memory, Jessie wished to bring the warmth of the past to him, and bestow upon him some motherly love. We see that horrifying projection change back to Cody and then disappear.


Aftermath culminating moments of Before I Wake, we find Jessie telling Cody about her mother. She gives him her journal to read and tells her what Cankerman really was. It was a surreal impression of his, about her mother Andrea Morgan when she was on her death bed. She was suffering from Cancer, and when she died Cody had himself believe that Cancer ate her mother. Which then as he grew up personified into an unpleasant idea of a man called Canker Man who went about killing people. It is a beautifully thought of revelation that is quite gratifying if you look at it.

In the end part of Before I Wake, whilst trying to tuck Cody in, Jessie tries to create a happy ending for all those people that were ensnared by Cody. She wishes everything undone,  but her thoughts are broken when Cody asks:

“Can those things happen?”

With all those crisp images of possibilities, you begin thinking if the dead are really coming back alive. But you realize that she was just putting out things for Cody to see. She believes in him that with time he could do wonderful things and that it is possible.

“You have an amazing gift. Who knows what can happen as it grows?”

Mike Flanagan in the end tries to justify what she said by going for a cheap shot. He shows Cody actually trying to create something from his mere thoughts, just by closing his eyes. I would say to that: “Too soon Mike! Too soon!”


It is only after Before I wake reaches midway that it actually starts to dwindle. You find Jessie actually reaching out for shriveled dark enclaves fearlessly which makes you question how fearless she really is. You would have wimped out from that dreary situation or maybe called the police first, and maybe made it a universal thing for everybody to see.

For some I would say the final revelation might not have tingled their brains. It is because there was no reasoning to follow it up immediately. I am sure some must be wondering how an imaginative nightmarish creation could be stopped by a sheer memory glimpse. Throws you in a thoughtful territory for a second, which is actually quite good for your head. At least you are thinking!


Despite all it flaws, I would like to remember Before I Wake as what it truly is. A great concept and a beautiful shot at imagination. Unfortunately it steers toward a clouded zone owing to its shoddy direction, and some dubious questions that it leave you with.

Check out the trailer of Before I Wake movie: