Disney’s Pete’s Dragon

Brought to you by Nuffnang and Disney

I’ve been thinking about how our family culture has evolved over time. It’s one of the things I’m enjoying most about family-life at the moment. After fifteen years of parenthood, nine of which I’ve had all of my four children with me, there’s a history of shared experiences that act like glue holding our family together. There’s a mix of what my husband and I bring from our own childhoods combined with the accumulated life experiences we’ve had with our children. It’s so special. It’s about belonging and connection and memories. And it’s fun! Oh, the things we laugh at! The funny camping stories and the individual quirks, like the way I say family as “fum-aly”. Much to my secret horror, we’ve become one of those families that quote movie lines in regular conversation. We love outdoor adventuring, snuggling up together watching movies, good food, culture and travel.

Creating family culture happens both by design and unconsciously. I think that’s the beauty of it. It’s a bit of an experiment as you throw different ingredients into the mix and you’re not entirely sure how it will turn out! One of the ingredients in our family culture is our love for Disney. Both my husband and I benefited from the magic of Disney storytelling as children, and now we enjoy weaving the same experiences into our family life. The Disney film that stands out from my childhood is ‘The Rescuers’. The adventure and mystery had me enthralled! Plus the unlikely heroes, Bernard and Bianca, filled me with hope and courage. I started collecting plastic figurines from the childhood movies I loved and this sweet pair seemed a perfect start. It’s a way for me to share some of my own childhood with the kids.

The Rescuers

Disney is a thread woven into our family life because there’s timelessness in the art of storytelling. I have many fond memories of gathering around a film together on movie nights. I also enjoy watching the kids bring the stories to life through plays, one liners, songs and singing to soundtracks in the car! There are many great family moments that involve Disney.

When I heard Disney was reimagining the wonderful family film Pete’s Dragon, I squealed! I knew it was the type of movie we could enjoy as a family. There’s adventure, fantasy and great characters. It’s set to hit cinemas on the 15th September, just in time for the spring school holidays.

The Story

From the studio that brought you The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon follows an orphaned boy named Pete and his dragon best friend, Elliot. It boasts a host of top actors including 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).

Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)

Bryce Dallas Howard is Grace in Disney's PETE'S DRAGON, the adventure of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.

Oscar® winner Robert Redford (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Robert Redford is Mr. Meacham, an old wood carver who delights local children with tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods nearby in Disney's PETE'S DRAGON.

Oona Laurence (Southpaw) and Oakes Fegley (This is Where I Leave You)

Oakes Fegley is Pete and Oona Laurence is Natalie in Disney's PETE'S DRAGON, the story of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.

Oakes Fegley (This is Where I Leave You) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)

Bryce Dallas Howard is Grace and Oakes Fegley is Pete in Disney's PETE'S DRAGON, the adventure of an orphaned boy and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon.

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 Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot 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 Australian cinemas on September 15, 2016.

Pete's Dragon

The Trailer 

Our family had the opportunity to preview Pete’s Dragon. There was laughter. There were tears! It’s a beautiful movie! It reminded me of a family adventure we had in New Zealand last year to the Redwood forest near Rotorua. While researching about the film, I discovered it was in fact, filmed in New Zealand. Visually, the movie is glorious; the animation is seamless. My children loved Elliot the dragon, whose expressions are captured beautifully without the need for speech. The relationship between Pete and Elliot is so convincing, I forgot the dragon was animated. It was these relationships – the focus on the special thing that is family – that resonated with my husband the most, along with watching Robert Redford on screen. For me, it was the stunning scenery, a sense of town community and nostalgia from my childhood. The movie is gentle in its storytelling, and the viewer has time to absorb the characters, the setting and relationships. Yet there’s plenty of excitement woven into the story too, and our entire family was fully engaged throughout. We left the theatre smiling, my husband’s arm over my shoulder with our children chatting around us. Pete’s Dragon is a lovely family movie with something in it for everyone.

Visiting New Zealand

Red Wood Pines North Island New Zealand

Red Wood Pines North Island New Zealand

If your family loves Disney too, there are many ways you can share the joy in family life. With September school holidays coming up, below are ten fun ways to enjoy Disney and the upcoming release of Pete’s Dragon.

  1. Collect Disney items of significance.
  2. Watch your favourite childhood Disney movie with your kids.
  3. Read the Pete’s Dragon book.
  4. Download a Disney movie soundtrack from iTunes for the next road trip. Aladdin is a favourite here.
  5. Build excitement for an upcoming film you plan to make a family fun event. A few ways to do this:
    • Watch behind the scenes videos and interviews. You can find great content on the Disney.com.au website; simply search for “Pete’s Dragon” in the search bar.
    • See Pete’s Dragon (Elliot) fly over your neighbourhood with the Pete’s Dragon is Near online activity at petesdragon.disney.com.au Great fun for kids!
  6. Talk about your favourite Pete’s Dragon character.
  7. Be inspired to create Pete’s Dragon craft and costumes at inspire.disney.com.au
  8. Act out a puppet theatre. Print Pete’s Dragon characters on paper; add a paddle pop stick to the back to make puppets.
  9. Research the places where films were set. Pete’s Dragon was filmed in New Zealand including the Bay of Plenty, Taupo and Wellington.
  10. Make your own Disney mix up book and retell your own story. Insert images of different characters into a Word document and create your own Disney story.

Thanks for the good family times Disney. May there be many more.

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