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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.66:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • 2 Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Digitally remastered
  • Interactive game
  • Short film

Pete's Dragon (Remastered)

Walt Disney Pictures/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 123 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

In 25 words or less: Hillbillies chase escaped orphan, who has invisible dragon as pet. He meets kindly lighthouse keepers, has dragon stolen by crooked salesmen before dragon escapes and saves the day.

Okay, 28 words. Sorry. Anyway, this Ďheart-warming family adventureí falls a little short of the mark somehow. Iíve never understood the urge of Hollywood to mix live-action and 2D animation. I just donít get it, thereís something not quite right about it. Computer animation is different, but the physics of 2D just donít work. That having been said, Peteís Dragon does as good a job as it possibly could. Iím pretty sure this film was state-of-the-art when released and at times itís possible to see why, but for the rest the SPFX are pretty cheesy.

Mickey Rooney plays one of the kindly lighthouse keepers and feigns drunk a couple of times. Oh dear, heís a veritable cartoon character himself! Then thereís the lead hillbilly, Mrs Gogan. She should have been called ĎGroganí. I wished it were Kathy Bates a la Misery more than once. The ending even has massive shades of Drop Dead Fred, with our young orphan even sporting Phoebe Catesí haircut throughout the entire movie. I found myself cringing a couple of times, particularly during some of the inescapable songs. Every ten minutes they burst into song it seems. Not to mention the irritating bloody voice of the dragon, Elliott. He sounds like a massive reptilian Mr Bean without the humour. Or intellect.

  Video
Contract

Apparently this film has been fully restored. Iím wondering how long it took, because it looks like crap for the most part. Now, that could just be the quality of the effects of the time, but the colours are washed out and the dragon seems to be part of the landscape most of the time. Arenít they supposed to fix that up when they 'fully restoreí something? Usually Disney do a bang up job, but Iím not sure what the inspiration was here and why it hasnít been accomplished as well as some of their other animated Ďclassicsí. Even the DVD case artwork looks better than the movie. Without contest.

  Audio
Contract

Craptacular. Thereís echo and reverb and all sorts of other sound horrors lurking throughout. The dialogue is unintelligible in some songs (hell, in some conversations) and the difference between the studio recording of singing and the live recording of acting is patently obvious.

This film sounds like it was recorded in a lighthouse. And probably was. During the perfect storm.

  Extras
Contract

Tacked on, laughable Animated Menus (if they could be called that) introduce several features, but not really very much. Thereís a six and a half-minute unrestored Donald Duck cartoon and an unrestored 18 minute Featurette about monsters which focuses mainly on Loch Ness. To its credit, there are some cool instances of old school animation in this part, which I really enjoyed. There are some quite comical locals being interviewed about Nessie (in all seriousness, too) that are worth the look as well. This is the highlight of the bonus features.

Thereís a two-minute excerpt from the Disney Family Album, featuring head monster animator of the time, Ken Anderson. Then three Still Galleries featuring some cool concept art and worldwide publicity, as well as behind the scenes and choreography shots. Last but not least thereís a rather weak game to find Elliott the Disappearing Dragon. If you find him twice, you get a Surprise Video Treat which is a surprise, so I wonít tell you. And yes, I do know what it is.

  Overall  
Contract

This DVD strikes me as nothing more than a money making venture to milk completists and the unwary parent. Everything about it seems rushed and thrown together. The film doesnít really appear 'Fully (or even digitally) Restored' to me, and while the film itself isnít too bad per se, it doesnít really have enough to compete with the computer animation of today. I know itís a fantasy for kids, and theyíll probably overlook the crappy treatment and enjoy the film and thatís okay. It ainít so bad, as I said. But Disneyís treatment of this film is a real disappointment next to the usual quality of their transfers.


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      And I quote...
    "Itís no Red Dragon. Unfortunately."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
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    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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