Embrace the magic with Pete’s Dragon – in theaters this week

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PetesDragon575f03319ec3fWhen I think of my own childhood, I definitely wouldn’t describe it as magical. Sure, it was a good childhood, and I have some really awesome memories, but it was always rooted in reality. Since I was the fourth of five children, it meant that if the older siblings figured out something, I did to. I honestly never remember believing in Santa, in fairies {tooth or otherwise}, or anything else that would be described as magical, and I knew that there were some serious limitations to our finances that meant sometimes we went without.

In parenting my own children now, I’m experiencing the magic of childhood through them. And, I’m always surprised by how that magic really makes everything more fun. It’s not that I now believe in Santa or fairies or that I don’t worry about finances anymore, but there is something really amazing about watching the magic of childhood right in front of you, and it makes me long for that type of magic in my everyday life. Teepee photo shootSo, when choosing films, TV shows, and books to read with my kids, I always struggle with the balance between reality and fantasy. I figure they have their whole lives to explore reality, so while they are young I am very much enjoying exploring fantasy with them in ways I never did as a child. But, because I’m an adult, over-the-top fantasy and make believe is hard to get into, so this means walking a fine line between the two worlds and finding things we can all enjoy together. Image017Since my son is obsessed with dragons and both kids love magic and adventure, I knew they would be thrilled to see “Pete’s Dragon” at the Seattle media preview. But, even though I knew the kids would love it, I honestly wasn’t expecting that much from the film. Maybe this is because I was picturing a very cartoonish dragon based on the quick previews I had seen, and I was thinking it was going to be one of the movies that leaned too far toward fantasy for my liking.

But, as it turns out, “Pete’s Dragon” was pretty much made for families like mine. The movie had just enough magic and just enough fantasy, but not so unrealistic that it becomes unwatchable to anyone under the age of 10.

Here are just some of the bits of magic that I embraced in the film:

  1. The magic of the woods. I loved how the main characters all had a tie to the woods that brought them together – some were drawn there through work, some by chance, and some from a love of adventure. PetesDragon578e9684b131e
  2. The cinematography. The sun drenched fields, rolling hills, and beautiful old-growth forest is pretty magical all its own, but the way that the movie was filmed made it seem even more amazing. It was easy to imagine yourself running through the forest, exploring back roads, and becoming one with nature along with the characters in the film. Although we have obviously never been to the fictional town in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where the story takes place, the whole film felt like “home” to us PNW-lovers, but with a touch more magic.
  3. The dragon. I had a healthy skepticism about a bright green dragon living in the woods near people and towns, but the way that this was handled was very clever and answered a lot of my questions. Elliot the dragon was also less cartoonish than I had thought he would be in order to appeal to kids, and he actually was very realistic without ever seeming scary or threatening according to my kiddos. PetesDragon578eb20476bcf
  4. The relationships between the characters. I especially liked the relationship between Grace {Bryce Dallas Howard} and her father, Mr. Meacham {Robert Redford}. Seeing how close they were and how they had grown together even though they had been through so many hard times together was really touching. I loved how when Pete came into their lives and shook up their world, their relationships only grew and adapted with the change. PetesDragon576027aa39b0b
  5. Believing in something you cannot see. There are some things you can believe on face value, some things that require critical thinking, and others that require a level of trust in others. Believing in something you cannot see requires a good dose of that trust, but the story of Elliot is a good reminder that there is so much of our world that we don’t yet understand, and even when something seems farfetched, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
  6. Boy vs. Wild. What’s more magical than an orphaned boy who takes on the forest and becomes one with the animals, the rough terrain, and the beauty without the help of other humans? Pete {Oakes Fegley} is not your typical 10-year-old, and neither is his best friend – a giant, green dragon named Elliot. Elliot has clearly been tamed by this amazing boy and this friendship between them has become everything to both of them.  PetesDragon56cab30c690fe
  7. Embracing the wonder. There was one line of the film that really resonated with me and I have thought of over and over again since the day we saw the movie. When talking to his daughter, Grace, Mr. Meacham tells his tale of meeting the dragon years ago and he says that experiencing that magic changed him and the way he saw the world forever, and it even changed how he saw his beloved daughter. I love that sentiment and it’s a great reminder that a little magic can change your life. I know it has mine.

As well as all the wonder and excitement, there’s intrigue, action, adventure, and enough humor to keep the kids laughing throughout the film. My kids are still talking about how much fun the movie was and have now been playing "dragon in the woods" for 5 days now. They have just started asking when we can see the movie again, so I'm going to call it a hit.

You can experience all the magic that is “Pete’s Dragon” in theaters starting August 12th.

For more Pete's Dragon fun, be sure to visit the official Disney Pete's Dragon site. Also, be sure and like PETE’S DRAGON on Facebook, on Twitter, and Instagram. Leanne Logo

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