This Friday sees the release of Pete's Dragon, a remake to the 1977 film from Walt Disney Pictures. In the movie a young boy named Pete befriends the dragon Elliot, a legendary creature that resides in the forest. The new movie follows the all-too-familiar concept of having misunderstood monsters befriending children. This idea has been used numerous times in movies and, on most occasions, the concept of big friendly monsters seems to work in favor of family films. Whether the creature is from outer space or resides in a closet, these movies have created creatures that audience cannot help but love. So in the wake of Pete's Dragon, here is a look back at four films that have friendly monsters.
4. The Iron Giant
In 1999, moviegoers saw a boy makes friends with a colossal robot in The Iron Giant, adapted from a story by Ted Hughes. In the film, a boy named Hogarth discovers an alien robot that has crashed in his backyard. Having no memory of why he was sent there, the robot befriends the boy as the two find themselves on many adventures. After discovering his origins, the Iron Giants learns that he can choose what he wants to be — a lesson that Hogarth teaches the colossal robot. Sappy as it may sound, the idea of a boy befriending a robot has turned The Iron Giant into a cult classic. Not only does the film feature a stylish concept, but the story of Hogarth and the Iron Giant is a good tale about friendship and choosing your own path.
3. Monsters, Inc.
In the film Monsters, Inc., the relationship between monsters and children are reversed as the creatures that go bump in the night are terrified of little kids. In the film, the monster known as Sully has his life turned upside down when a little girl named Boo finds her way into the monster world. At first Sully, and his best friend Mike, are terrified of Boo. Eventually, the big blue monster befriends the little girl. The movie uses the idea of not judging a book by its cover, but reverses the concept with Boo taking the role of the “monster.” The end result was a touching tale between monster and child as Monsters, Inc. remains to be one of Pixar's best films.
2. How To Train Your Dragon
Here is a film that features similar concepts to Pete's Dragon. In 2010, moviegoers were treated to How to Train Your Dragon, a film by DreamWorks Animation, loosely based on the novel by Cressida Cowell. In the movie, the misfit viking known as Hiccup shoots down a mysterious dragon known as a Night Fury. After sparing its life, Hiccup begins to question dragons and whether or not the creatures are really as evil as he had been led to believe. Hiccup discovers the truth by getting to know the Night Fury that he calls Toothless.
Through their encounters, Hiccup realizes that everything the vikings know about dragons is wrong as Toothless quickly becomes Hiccup's closest friend. The story of How to Train Your Dragon follows in the footsteps of other movies with beloved creatures, but this animated feature uses the concept to its fullest potential. The story of Hiccup and Toothless is an engaging tale about two characters with great personalities and a believable friendship. While the plot of this series has yet to reach its conclusion; it remains a wonder that the story behind How to Train Your Dragon all started with just a boy and his dragon.
1. The BFG
The most recent film to use this idea (so to speak) is the summer blockbuster known as The BFG. Based on the story by Roald Dahl and directed by Steven Spielberg, The BFG tells the story of a young girl named Sophie who discovers a giant roaming the streets of London. The giant takes Sophie to his home and there the unlikely duo manage to become friends.
While the movie has it share of flaws, one of the highlights to The BFG was the friendship between Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant. The two characters had great chemistry together which made their friendship all the more believable. The BFG may not have changed the foundation of this concept, but the movie still used the idea of friendly creatures to the best of its ability as its story of friendship is both entertaining as well as heartwarming.
There are many movies out there that have used this concept, but no matter which one you look at, each of these film follow similar patterns by having friendships of unlikely duos. Yet, each of these movies find their own way to make this concept constantly refreshing, not to mention enjoyable. So, will Pete's Dragon followed suit and be another touching film about a boy and his monstrous companion? The only to find out is by seeing the latest feature from Walt Disney Pictures.
Make sure to check out Pete's Dragon in theaters August 12th!