Sometimes, a 'live action' film based on an animated classic is a great new adventure. Sometimes it is a shot-for-shot recreation. For Disney, some have worked, others have not.
The Little Mermaid, despite constant backlash was a fun little film that sadly didn't distance itself from the original animated classic. Far from a bust, The Little Mermaid was far better than expected. My family loved it. The same can't be said for other recent films.
The original Pete's Dragon was released in 1977 and it used to drive my father crazy. He couldn't stand Helen Reddy, my mom and I loved her music so when she was onscreen we loved it. Here is the rub with this one. This isn't an actual "animated to live action" remake. It was a remake with a digital upscale.
The new version, released in 2016 should have been amazing. Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Karl Urban are great actors and they had a chance to bring a lot to the film. Disney took the adventure into a different realm. Gone was the New England coastal living where it was replaced with a North Washington State forests.
The movie itself was just o.k but director David Lowery's decision to forgo a dragon more styled after the original was not a good decision. Eiliot in this film was furry. Lowery said that he thought it was more "huggable" this way saying that it was "the kind of dragon you really want to give a hug to."