Pete’s Dragon

May 31st, 2011 by Perfesser Deviant

Petes Dragon   Petes Dragon poster 1 84x120 reviews fantasy comedy animation Director: Don Chaffey
Writers
: Malcolm Marmorstein based on a story by Seton I. Miller & S.S. Field
Release Year
: 1977

A dragon terrorizes a seaside town.

Pete (Sean Marshall) is an orphan who has been bought by the Gogans – an evil family of hillbillies – who are ruled by the more evil mother Lena (Shelley Winters). Since he finds redneckery less than appealing, he runs away with a monstrous dragon named ‘Elliott’ (voiced by Charlie Callas). He’s taken in by a kind lighthouse keeper Nora (Helen Reddy) and her drunken father Lampie (Mickey Rooney) and finds that the town is not really as tolerant of his lifestyle as it seems at first….

 

Petes Dragon   petes dragon title 300x168 reviews fantasy comedy animation

 

(Spoilers follow…)

Petes Dragon   petes dragon 1 300x168 reviews fantasy comedy animation Pete is really a sad figure in this film as he suffers more abuse than your average prostitute. The evil hillbillies who bought him, beat him regularly to the point that he ran away from home. It takes a lot of beatings to send most kids running, so his home life must have been something awful. Once Pete settles in the town of Passamaquoddy, Maine he discovers that the locals – known as ‘Mainiacs’ – live up to their name. The local schoolteacher – Miss Taylor (Jane Kean) – is a sadistic bitch who uses her cane – nicknamed ‘the knucklecracker’ – to attempt to cripple Pete’s hands because he disobeys her. The Mayor (Jim Backus) tries to lead a lynch mob against Pete when he comes to town and things seem to go wrong. The quack medicine man Dr. Terminus (Jim Dale) and his assistant Hoagy (Red Buttons) try to trade Pete back to the Gogans to get at the dragon. Even the sympathetic characters of Nora and Lampie don’t believe Pete’s stories about the dragon. It’s little wonder that the dragon leads Pete here as it seems to be a den of evil.

Petes Dragon   petes dragon 2 300x168 reviews fantasy comedy animation Pete’s relationship with the dragon is more than a little creepy. The two of them share a song about how much they love one another in a relationship that is less-than-wholesome. Like most chickenhawks, Elliott takes an abused and neglected young boy out of a bad situation and molds him into his special protege. Yes, Elliott goes out of his way to isolate Pete from other adults as he ravages the town turning Pete into an outcast. These are all right out of the NABLA playbook as forcing a young boy to become isolated makes him a better target who’s more willing to play a body-art game of ‘tic-tac-toe’ on Elliott’s belly or chest depending on the shot. Elliott is very effective at leaving Pete alone as, despite Pete’s pleas, no one believes that their relationship is anything more than a delusion of young Pete. It’s only when Pete gets a little too old and his relationship is exposed that Elliott moves on. Some people might object to me saying that Disney would have anything to do with pedophiles, let me remind everyone that they did hire Victor Salva.

Petes Dragon   petes dragon 3 300x168 reviews fantasy comedy animation To make everything even creepier, the whole thing is a musical.

Tn terms of technical ability, the film isn’t bad. The dragon is simply animated over the rest of the characters, but because of careful direction it merges pretty seamlessly into the live-action. There are some problems with visible wires here and there and some physics that are more than a little theoretical in the same way that intelligent design is a viable alternative to evolution. Still, there’s never been a better film about a pedophile dragon and his special boy.

 

Rating: Petes Dragon   star reviews fantasy comedy animation Petes Dragon   star reviews fantasy comedy animation Petes Dragon   halfstar reviews fantasy comedy animation Petes Dragon   blankstar reviews fantasy comedy animation Petes Dragon   blankstar reviews fantasy comedy animation


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