Disney has released the first trailer for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery‘s live-action re-imagining of Pete’s Dragon. Written by Lowery and Toby Halbrooks, the story tells of the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete (Oakes Fegley) and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. Robert Redford plays an old wood carver whose tales of a fierce dragon that resides in the woods of the Pacific Northwest are shrugged off as nonsense, that is until his daughter (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), stumbles across Pete, who boasts of a friend that sounds a lot like the storied dragon. Howard’s character then sets out to determine where Pete came from and where he belongs.
The titular dragon is shown (backside only) at the tail-end of the trailer. The effects in that one shot might give some people pause as to why a live-action film was needed when the first glimpse of the dragon looks a little cartoonish, but there are a lot of elements to be excited about for this adaptation. Primarily, it’s that Lowery is at the helm. While I wasn’t a huge fan of his poetic outlaw flick Saints, it showed immense promise in visuals, patience and tone, and he’s been on my what’s next radar even since. Lowery also did excellent work as an editor on Shane Carruth‘s mind-bending Upstream Color, hiding the premise of the disease-strain film for as long as possible and creating an immense realm of unease. He remains an extremely intriguing selection for Disney here and I am excited to see more from subsequent footage.
How long will Lowery keep the dragon hidden in this film? Will Howard’s seasoned experience with large reptiles in Jurassic World come into play? Will her shoe choice launch thousands of blog posts for being the right choice for women running from beasts? One thing is certain, Redford looks at home in the woods and Lowery certainly captures the beauty of the evergreens and mist as expertly as the animators of The Good Dinosaur did. Let’s just hope that—unlike that Pixar film—his animators flesh out the big reptile with much more detail.
Also starring Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, and Oona Laurence, Pete’s Dragon opens in theaters on August 12th. You can view the trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis for Pete’s Dragon:
A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, “Pete’s Dragon” is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. “Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film, which is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”), is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a. (“The Finest Hours,” “Friday Night Lights”), with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Great Gatsby”) serving as executive producer.
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.