Critics are loving Pete's Dragon, the new Disney film which was shot in New Zealand

Disney's latest live-action adventure is getting a big thumbs up from film critics.

Pete's Dragon - which was filmed in New Zealand and features Kiwi actor Karl Urban - has been called "the best 'big' movie of the summer" (Forbes).

Also starring Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World) and Robert Redford, the movie follows a young boy named Pete (Oakes Fegley) who is found in the woods and has a magical best friend, Elliott the dragon.

Time Out UK said the reimagining of the 1977 Disney classic had "all the nostalgic Spielberg-y-ness of Stranger Things, minus the creepy kids with paranormal nosebleeds."

A scene from the movie, Pete's Dragon.
A scene from the movie, Pete's Dragon.

The Guardian also compared the film, directed by David Lowery, to the work of Steven Spielberg, writing: "The result is part ET, part Jungle Book, part Peanuts.

It's sweet and soulful and Spielberg-ish, but with a bitter streak."

The animated dragon at the heart of the film was praised by The Wrap which reported: "Elliot is a triumph, a new ideal for fantasy creatures."

"Pete's Dragon is a remake in all the right ways, taking cues from the original but reimagining the story for a very different audience living in a very different era," IGN Movies' reviewer wrote. And Empire Magazine commented that, "strong performances and direction make the most of a lightweight tale."

Variety said the film was "One of the year's most delightful movie-going surprises, a quality family film that rewards young people's imaginations and reminds us of a time when the term "Disney movie" meant something."

The film has so far received a rating of 84 per cent on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.

Pete's Dragon hits New Zealand cinemas on September 15.

- NZ Herald

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