‘Pete’s Dragon’: Another Film That Proves Disney Has Mastered The Art Of Recycling

The first teaser trailer for the new Disney film Pete’sDragon was released earlier this week, grabbing the attention of millions of people around the world.

Most young children — the primary target audience of Disney films — may have simply been drawn into the trailer because the clip features a young boy and a glimpse of a very large dragon.

Quite a few of them probably even thought about how much fun they had watching the films from the popular How to Train a Dragon franchise.

As soon as the little boy dove off of the cliff, a number of people may have moved to the edge of their seats — wondering what would happen next. Throughout the teaser clip, quite a few of the movie’s leading stars were featured — including actress Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Wes Bentley and Oakes Fegley starring as Pete.

However, the actual dragon of Pete’s Dragon did not make his big debut until the final moments of the teaser — swooping up into the air as he apparently saved Pete from a fatal fall.

For most young people, it may reflect something that they have never seen before. It is important to remember, though, that Pete’s Dragon is definitely not a new Disney movie — it is just a new remake of an old movie.

The original Pete’s Dragon was first introduced nearly four decades ago in 1977.

The Don Chaffey-directed musical combined live actors and actresses with an animated dragon that served as Pete’s frequently invisible best friend. According to IMDB, the film’s main story was about “an orphan boy and his magical dragon” that “come to town with his abusive adoptive parents in pursuit.”

During an interview at the D23 Expo last August, according to the Los Angeles Times, Pete’s Dragon actress Bryce Dallas Howard opened up about the differences between the original film and the 2016 reboot. Howard confirmed that, unlike the original, the David Lowery-directed remake is not a musical film that focuses mainly on the animation.

“I don’t think we could do it any better. Honestly. This is not a musical, although Wes [Bentley] and I tried really hard to work in some music here and there. There’s a few humming moments. But no, this is a partially animated film, of course, because of the dragon. But it’s very different from the original in that way.”

Bryce further explained that the lack of songs and 2-D animation were not the only changes that were made within the remake in comparison to the 1977 original. She stated that the overall story is a lot different as well.

“It’s really different this story. It still has the essence of what was so great about the original ‘Pete’s Dragon.’ This is a story of an orphaned boy whose best friend is what everyone thinks is an imaginary character, and it’s actually a real dragon. And during the course of his journey he finds his family. So that’s still intact. But everything else is very different. Everything else.”

There may be several key changes made to the new Pete’s Dragon, but an underlying point still remains: It’s a remake.

It seems as if Disney has shifted its focus from creating original films and potential classics towards remaking — and essentially recycling — films from its past catalog of hit movies.

For example, think about all of the Disney movies that have been released since 2010 – including the upcoming films that are currently scheduled to hit theaters in 2016.

  1. Alice in Wonderland (2010) – Remake
  2. Waking Sleeping Beauty (2010) – Movie about a Disney movie
  3. Toy Story 3 (2010) – Sequel
  4. Tron: Legacy (2010) – Sequel
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) – Sequel
  6. Cars 2 (2011) – Sequel
  7. Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) – Prequel
  8. Monsters University (2013) – Sequel
  9. Saving Mr. Banks (2013) – Movie about a Movie
  10. Muppets Most Wanted (2014) – Sequel
  11. Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) – Sequel
  12. Cinderella (2015) – Remake
  13. Anybody Can Dance 2 (2015) – Sequel
  14. The Jungle Book (2016) – Remake
  15. Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) – Sequel
  16. Finding Dory (2016) – Sequel
  17. Pete’s Dragon (2016) – Remake

Based on that list, within a six-year period, 17 Disney movies have been remakes, prequels, follow-up sequels for a franchise or movies about a movie.

Keep in mind that this list does not include any of the confirmed Disney movies that are scheduled to hit theaters in 2017 and beyond – such as Beauty and the Beast, another Pirates of the Caribbean film, a third Cars movie, a fourth Toy Story movie and a follow-up sequel to The Incredibles.

Pete’s Dragon will be added to the growing list of Disney remakes – stories that were first told on the big-screen several decades ago in one way or another. Perhaps, though, it will still be a huge hit for Walt Disney Pictures. At this point, only time will tell, but the box-office will determine whether it’s a hit or miss when it is released in August.

[Image Credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images]