Archives for August 8, 2016

Pete’s Dragon – Blends Emotion and Action with Friendship and Bravery


This remake of Pete’s Dragon follows the adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley and more, this film truly appeals to a youth and family audience and makes a perfect family movie. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Pete’s Dragon is a great film that perfectly blends emotion and action in a heartwarming adventure of friendship and bravery.” See his full review below.


Pete’s Dragon

By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11



Pete’s Dragon is a great film that perfectly blends emotion and action in a heartwarming adventure of friendship and bravery. Directed by David Lowery, Pete’s Dragon follows Pete (Oakes Fegley), a young boy who, after a car accident, survives in the woods for six years with the help of his friend Elliot, a dragon. When a forest ranger named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) finds Pete, he reenters society and must try to find a way to fit in while also trying to protect Elliot.


I like most of the characters in this film, but my favorite character is Elliot the dragon because he always looks after Pete and always does what’s best for him. The film and the visual effects make Elliot into a character I really care about. He’s also funny and makes me laugh several times throughout the movie.


I love the cinematography in Pete’s Dragon especially some of the breathtaking, massive shots of the forest where Elliot and Pete live.  The special effects in this film are fantastic, too. Instead of using animation to create Elliot like in the original, he is entirely in CGI and the results look fantastically life-like. I recommend you see this in 3D, especially for the flight sequences. Seeing Pete and Elliot glide through the mountains is very cool.


This film really surprised me because, as a remake it borrows almost nothing from its source material. I have to give credit to director David Lowery for creating this new story and world.


Most of the cast deliver great performances. Oakes Fegley delivers a quite believable Pete, especially considering this is one of his first roles and his co-star wasn’t there during much of the filming. The excellent Robert Redford appears in the film as Grace’s dad. He says he once saw a dragon in the woods but Grace never believed him. I really like his character. He is kind and reminds his daughter of the importance of seeing more magic in life.


I like this film because, unlike some other recent Disney remakes, it doesn’t try to be darker than the original but creates a new story for a younger generation that the whole family can enjoy.


I recommend Pete’s Dragon for ages 5 to 12 based on the scenes of peril. There are two or three that could scare younger viewers. Pete’s Dragon will take you on an emotional journey filled with humor, adventure and magic. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars.


Girl Scouts of the USA and Disney Channel Team Up to Inspire Girls to Lead Girl Scouts of the USA encourages girls and their families to practice leadership skills the Girl Scout way with inspiration from Disney Channel’s new animated series Elena of Avalor

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Disney Channel are teaming up to inspire girls and their families to practice leadership. The collaboration brings GSUSA’s focus on leading like a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM, the Girl Scout way, and Disney Channel’s recently launched animated television series Elena of Avalor into action with the debut of The Elena of Avalor Leadership Guide by Girl Scouts and Disney Channel. Available in English and Spanish beginning today, the Guide showcases leadership activities and conversations parents and caregivers can engage their preschool through fifth-grade girls in to boost their everyday leadership skills and prepare them to create the future they imagine.


“Since 1912, Girl Scouts has proudly fostered a tradition of excellence that prepares girls, with the support of their families, to boldly take the lead in their lives in the ‘Girl’ Scout way,” said Sylvia Acevedo, interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “Recognizing that leadership development for youth begins early-on, we are particularly excited to work with Disney Channel on this collaboration tied to Elena of Avalor, a wonderfully innovative program that emphasizes the importance of embracing the mantle of leadership to a new generation. Because, as we say at Girl Scouts, ‘If the world needs more leaders, then we need more Girl Scouts!’”


Studies show early experiences in life impact leadership potential, and the family setting is the first place a child learns about how to be a strong leader.1 As uncovered by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), the disconnect between the command-and-control definition of leadership and the more aspirational types of leadership points to potential pitfalls in communicating with girls about the benefits of leadership development programs2. Additionally, girls are not confident about having the essential skills and competencies they think of as most important for a leader2. GSUSA, with its established legacy in preparing girls to be leaders, believes in a holistic approach to leadership, which is a key component of the new leadership guide.


“As we launch Elena of Avalor on Disney Channel, nothing is more important to us than using the impact that we know television has on our audience to showcase strong, ambitious role models for young girls. Our work with GSUSA will give us the chance to amplify that message and be a part of the largest community of young female leaders, by providing materials and inspiration that demonstrate every girl has the power to lead,” said Nancy Kanter, executive vice president, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide.


Also debuting is the inaugural “Elena of Avalor—Scepter of Light Award,” which will be presented to two Girl Scout Gold Award recipients. The Gold Award is the highest recognition a Girl Scout can earn, with recipients demonstrating extraordinary leadership through “Take Action projects” and exemplifying compassion, critical thinking, collaboration, and courage—the very leadership qualities that Elena of Avalor models. Award recipients will participate in events including Elena’s Royal Welcome at Walt Disney World in Orlando this August and a GSUSA event in Chicago in the fall.


Later this year, as part of Disney ABC Television Group’s Be Inspired pro-social efforts, Disney Channel and Disney Junior will air leadership-themed pro-social interstitials featuring Girl Scouts alongside Princess Elena, as well as kick off a user-generated contest encouraging girls to share how they exemplify being a G.I.R.L. on International Day of the Girl (October 11) and give them the opportunity to be featured on air.


Disney’s Elena of Avalor follows the story of Elena, a brave and adventurous teenager who saves her kingdom from an evil sorceress and must learn to rule as crown princess until she is old enough to be queen. Set in Avalor, an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore, Elena’s journey will lead her to understand that her new role requires thoughtfulness, resilience, and compassion, the traits of all truly great leaders. The series airs Fridays at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Disney Channel.


We’re Girl Scouts of the USA

We’re 2.7 million strong—1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we’ve made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs for girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit


About Disney Channel

Disney Channel is a 24-hour kid-driven, family-inclusive television network that taps into the world of kids and families through original series, movies and short form. Currently available on basic cable and satellite in over 96 million U.S. homes and to millions of other viewers on Disney Channels around the world, Disney Channel is part of the Disney ABC Television Group. Disney Channel-branded content spans television, online, mobile, VOD platforms and the Disney Channel App. Disney Channels Worldwide is a global portfolio of 116 kid-driven, family inclusi

ELENA OF AVALOR - Girl Scouts of the USA encourages girls and their families to practice leadership skills the Girl Scout way with inspiration from Disney Channel's new animated series Elena of Avalor. (Disney Channel)