|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Genre:||Adventure, Children's Movie|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 103 min.|
|FSK:||From 6 years|
The children's film "Elliot, the smirking monster" from 1978 is certainly not one of Disney's greatest successes. But for many who saw the film as a child, the charming mixture of feature film and cartoon takes a very special place in their hearts. Who didn't want to have a friend like Elliot and who didn't hum the catchy songs from the movie all the time. And so the adventure of the orphan boy Pete and his dragon Elliot still has a quite loyal fan base today, which is big enough to justify a remake of the movie. This is now coming to our cinemas under the name "Elliot, the Dragon" and has little in common with the colourful musical from the 70s.
The new edition tells the story of little Pete (Oakes Fegley), who, after his parents died in a car accident, lives alone in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. All alone? No, because Pete has a great friend who protects him and takes care of him. His name is Elliot and he's a dragon. The two unequal friends have created their own little idyll, which is suddenly threatened when forest workers begin to cut trees nearby. Suddenly there are other people near him - a completely new situation for Pete. But forester Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her little daughter Natalie (Oona Laurence) can win the boy's trust and Pete starts to imagine a life outside the forest. But when some of the forest workers discover Elliot and want to capture him, the events get completely out of control…
Filmmaker David Lowery has to be credited with having interpreted the well-known story in a completely different way, and so he and his co-author Toby Halbrooks do not deliver a classic remake, but a complete reinterpretation. There are hardly any similarities between her film and the original, whose basic tone was much more cheerful and playful than it is here. Lowery has staged a thrilling adventure movie for children, which also has a little bit of humor to offer, but doesn't have any big laughs. For very little dragon-fans the movie is a bit too heavy and too dark. But children between the ages of 7 and 11 will surely be thrilled by the adventure of little Pete and his fluffy dragon friend.
For me personally, it's very difficult not to compare this movie to "Elliot, the smirking monster". Because it was my very first feature film and therefore has a very special meaning for me. And of course I was a little bit disappointed by this serious remake. Of course, you should not make this direct comparison, as they are de facto two completely different films. But in one aspect the difference is so clear in favor of the original that it has to be dealt with here - But with a clear spoiler warning. Because here I am referring to the end of the movie.
In the original Pete has to say goodbye to Elliot so that the lovable dragon can help another child that needs him more urgently now than Pete, who found a new family. As a child I found this end very sad, but also beautiful. Because I could believe that Elliot could come to me if I needed him. And I really thought that was a nice idea back then. The new movie lacks such a fantastic aspect of the story. Elliot is not a magical being here who always appears when a child needs help. The new Elliot is simply a dragon that has lived in the woods for many centuries and will eventually return. So Pete doesn't really have to say goodbye, but can visit Elliot again at any time if he wants to. Anything else could traumatize our children. This ending is really weak and leaves behind the uncomfortable feeling that the makers have desperately tried to leave a small back door open for a sequel, if this reinterpretation would have become an absolute box-office hit - which at least in the USA isn't the case.
"Elliot, the Dragon" is an exciting and well done adventure movie for children with a loveable dragon and some beautifully filmed scenes. Yet, the not exactly subtly conveyed message about family and friendship is so full of clichés and is served without corners and edges, so that the movie doesn't offer much more than average entertainment at the end. A new classic is Disney here but by no means succeeded. For children over 6 years there is nevertheless a very clear one: Worth seeing!
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