Pete's Dragon

Pete's Dragon ★★★★

The word you’re looking for is “sincerity.”

It’ll be on the tip of your tongue from the opening shots of “Pete’s Dragon,” a warm, wistful, and wholly wonderful remake of a 1977 Disney musical that today’s kids have never heard of and yesterday’s kids have long since forgotten. That word, baked into every aspect of this rewarding live-action fable, will be staring you in the face as the film’s powerful prologue careens from adventure to tragedy and back again. It may have been ushered into production on the dying fumes of brand recognition, but — from that exhaust — director David Lowery has crafted something that feels like it comes from the heart. There are remakes, and then there are remakes, and “sincerity,” above all else, is what most definitely makes this one of the latter.