Pete’s Dragon

Today we begin a new feature at The Leadership Institute. We’ll call it Family Movie Night because that’s what we call it at home.

Movie night has been a staple at the Donovan home since before our eldest (age 13 3/4) was born. Someday I will finish my next book, “Movies I Want My Kids To See” (or at least that is what I call it in my head) and finally write down the movies we have watched together and those I recommend for a family movie night with children of varying ages. For today, I’ll begin sharing some recommendations with families via the Institute’s site.

First up is a Disney’s remake, this time retelling the story of Pete and his dragon, Elliott. Our family had watched the original Pete’s Dragon from 1977, which starred Helen Reddy, Mickey Rooney, and Jim Dale some time ago, and I was afraid of what the remake might do to the original story. I remember going to see the original at West Town Theater in Knoxville, TN when I was seven and I have always loved the story.

The new movie was great and I wish we had bought it instead of rented it. The music had the children dancing to the credits and I was pleased to see even the oldest child, who stopped dancing somewhere along the way, join in the fun. In fact, I am not sure when the dancing after movies stopped in the last year, but it did. I was so happy to see it return.

Pete’s Dragon is the story of family, of love, of brotherhood, and forgiveness. Yes, there is a dragon in the midst of the story but really it’s a movie about stories – our stories – the ones that begin at home and end with the realization that nothing can replace family. It’s rated PG (for action, peril, and brief language), gets a rating of 88% on Rotton Tomatoes and Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents.

You may not like every movie we recommend here and you may not agree that all of them are “family-friendly.” We will try to warn you of offensive material and let you know what ages can see the films we recommend. For now, we will simply say that this one is family-friendly tested and approved. My own children are 9-13 and love the movie.

Our children go back to school this week and will want a break after three long days of school (who really wants to go back to school after Christmas break?) So this week, if you get a chance, try the 2016 Pete’s Dragon for movie night and listen carefully for the words of the song in the final credits.

If you’re lost out where the lights are blinding
Caught in all, the stars are hiding
That’s when something wild calls you home, home
If you face the fear that keeps you frozen
Chase the sky into the ocean
That’s when something wild calls you home, home

May your week be filled with dancing.