Walt Disney Pictures has released the first trailer for Pete’s Dragon, its upcoming remake of the 1977 film about an orphaned boy and his best friend, a dragon named Elliott.
Along with bringing the premise of the story into the current era, the studio also seems to have given the film a healthy dose of modern visual-effects magic, as well as an all-star cast that includes at least one Oscar winner and an assortment of other award winners and familiar faces. The heart of the story, however, appears to remain the same.
Directed by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) from a script penned by Lowery and Toby Halbrooks, Pete’s Dragon casts Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help) as a park ranger named Grace who encounters 10-year-old Pete (played by Oakes Fegley of This is Where I Leave You) living in the forest. She soon learns that he’s been living in the wild for six years, but Pete insists that he wasn’t alone in the woods.
The film also features Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games) as a local mill owner, Karl Urban (Star Trek Into Darkness) as the mill owner’s brother, Oona Laurence (Southpaw) as a young girl who befriends Pete, and Oscar-winning actor Robert Redford (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as Grace’s father.
The original Pete’s Dragon earned two Academy Award nominations: One for the song “Candle on the Water” and another for the film’s score. The film used a mixture of live-action performance for the human actors and hand-drawn animation for Elliott, who was voiced by comedian Charlie Callas.
The visual effects used to bring Elliott to life in the upcoming film were produced by WETA Digital, the Oscar-winning studio that produced the VFX for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2005’s King Kong remake, and James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar.
Pete’s Dragon is scheduled to premiere in U.S. theaters August 12.