Disney’s live action Pete’s Dragon will draw heavy inspiration from the original 1977 film. This film will feature a not-so visible dragon along with an orphaned child named Pete. Together, they form a close friendship and go on a wild adventure.
The original film was one of the first of its kind blending live-action with animation. The movie was moderately successful at the box office leaving many fans and critics divided. However, that didn’t stop The Walt Disney Company to once again take a crack at giving this story another go round almost a full forty years after the original was released. While a recent teaser trailer was given to us during Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary special, it still left fans wanting more particularly what Elliot would look like.
Entertainment Weekly has finally given us our first official look at what Elliot’s appearance in Pete’s Dragon. Check it below:
I have to say that I am not so overly thrilled with the dragon’s look. For one, he kinda looks more like a bear than a dragon. Plus, where’s the pink!? Elliot was known for having that trademark pinkish hair and wings along with a few polka dots. But unfortunately that’s no where to be seen here. Clearly, they are going more for the nature look as he’s a dragon who lives in the well, forest.
Director David Lowery’s Interview with EW:
Entertainment Weekly had a few questions for director David Lowery specifically on the look of Elliot. When asked about what they kept with his original look and actions like his clumsy demeanor and overall goofiness, Lowery explained:
“Certain things about the original design we loved: Big jaw, big snout, and a clumsy quality that we really wanted to not completely forget about.”
Thank god for that. I mean that IS what makes Elliot loveable. He’s goofy. The dragon still must maintain that goofy humor we’ve come accustomed to enjoy about him. As for his pink scales and crazy hair:
“We explored pink, just to see what would happen. From the get-go, the aesthetic was always to make everything feel as handmade as possible, including effects. To really have it feel like a blur between a very grounded realistic world and a world in which a big green dragon that can turn invisible can exist.”
Apparently pink didn’t appear to work well enough to “hide” himself in the forest. After all, the pink color would stand out among the trees but I can understand the reasoning behind the director’s decision to cut it out. Still, it would have made for a closer rendition to the original characters’ look.
Why not the proper Typical Dragon Approach?
This is actually the biggest question I have for the new Elliot look. To me, he appears more like a cute and cuddly mammal such as a bear rather than something that looks more like your standard dragon. Fortunately Production designer Jade Healy shed some light on this topic. Healy explains,
“David saw this furry, soft dragon that kids could imagine, when they go into the woods, could actually be there.”
The idea was to swap out the medieval dragon/lizard look for a more canine approach. This way kids wouldn’t be as frightened when they see the dragon on-screen. Speaking of canines, the production team actually viewed hours upon hours of online videos featuring animals and their hilarious antics. They wanted to nail the animal movement of this creature so they came across multiple videos to use as research. Healy also discloses one of the videos in particular that everyone enjoyed:
“There’s one video of a giant panda tumbling in his cave, and we looked at that again and again as our Elliott — this big animal who just doesn’t know what to do with his body.”
So there you have it. Elliot will be based off a panda bear! Let that just sink in for just a second.
But wait there’s more!
Apparently other animals and birds were taken for inspiration including the wings of an Australian flying fox, polar bear fur, and sounds specifically made from a lion, tiger, and an elephant. Even the director’s cat played a part in this! Lowery had this to say:
“So much of Elliott’s behavior, when I gave direction, would just be based on this thing my cat did that morning when he was first waking up.”
Wow, now that’s a lot of animal species to make up one character if you ask me. While I understand the direction the creators are going here, I can’t help but scratch my head at some of the choices. The original was a classic and is due for a proper remake. I am intrigued to see this film and I may even give it a go when it comes out in theaters. But first, I think I’ll go see some REAL talking animals in The Jungle Book while singing the ‘Bare Necessities’ on my way to the theater!
But that’s my take on this first look at Elliot. What I’d like to know is, how are your feelings towards the dragon’s appearance? Do you like it or dislike it? Are you excited for this film when it comes out on August 12? I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts in the comment section below and please share!
Source: Entertainment Weekly