Pete’s Dragon is an uplifting musical adventure about a spunky young orphan that blends live action and stellar old school Disney animation. With his only friend Elliot, a tubby, 12-foot tall dragon who can make himself invisible, Pete (Sean Marshall) takes refuge from his abusive adoptive family in the seaside town of Passamaquoddy, Maine. After Elliot’s invisible antics wreak havoc with the residents and Pete gets the blame, Nora (Helen Reedy) is touched by the youngster’s plight and takes him to live with her and her tippling father Lampie (Mickey Rooney) in the Passamaquoddy Point lighthouse. Lampie’s tipsy tales of the boy and his dragon amuse the disbelieving townsfolk, until the local quack, Dr. Terminus, discovers that Elliot is real and hatches a scheme to capture the dragon. An exciting and inspiring story with unforgettable music, including the Academy Award nominated “Candle on the Water,” “There’s Room for Everyone” and “Brazzle Dazzle Day,” Pete’s Dragon High Flying Edition will be a perennial favorite with children and parents.
I had not thought about this film since I first saw it when I was 12 years old in 1977. Watching it was like meeting an old friend. Though it pales in comparison to Disney’s, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” it scores points with an entertaining song score (anchored by the Oscar-nominated “Candle on the Water”) and some delightful voice work by Charlie Callas as the voice of Elliott the Dragon. Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Jim Dale, Helen Reddy and Shelley Winters make an endearing ensemble. Of course, it is Elliott who is the film’s greatest delight. This new DVD has excellent picture and sound quality. The colors are sharp and grain is minimal (save for the process shots that mix the animated dragon with the live-action scenes), and it’s chock full of great bonus features such as:
• Brazzle Dazzle Effects: Disney’s Movie Magic – An entertaining new look at Disney’s pioneering work in the magical mix of live-action and animation, narrated by
the star of Pete’s Dragon, Sean Marshall.
• Deleted Storyboard Sequence: “Terminus & Hoagy Hunt Elliot” – A rare demo dialog track and storyboard sketches.
• Original Song Concept: “Boo Bop Bopbop Bop (I Love You, Too)” – The first demo recording for one of the film’s unforgettable musical sequences with story sketches for an early concept of the song Pete sings to Elliot.
• Original Demo Recordings (Audio Only) – A special audio-only feature that includes early demo versions of “Brazzle Dazzle Day” and “Every Little Piece” before they evolved into the songs heard in the movie. Also includes “The Greatest Star of All,” a song originally intended to be sung by Ferdinand, a character later deleted from the film.
• Promotional Record (Audio Only) – Pop versions of “It’s Not Easy,” “Brazzle Dazzle Day,” “There’s Room For Everyone” and Academy Award nominee for Best Song, “Candle On The Water,” originally released together on a 7” record to promote the film’s music.
• “Where’s Elliot?” – The Disappearing Dragon Game
• Pete’s Dragon Art Galleries
• About Pete’s Dragon
• Disney Family Album
• The Plausible Impossible
• Lighthouse Keeping