I only recently watched the original Pete's Dragon, a technicolor musical about an orphan sold into slavery and his pet dragon. Upon escaping from his captors Pete and the titular creature go to a sea-side town, getting into mischief and befriending the lighthouse keeper. However, Pete's owners are looking for him, and there is a greedy snake-oil salesman who sees a money making opportunity in capturing the dragon.
The songs were good, the acting was not subtle, and the villains were moustache-twirling (in one case, very literally) - but it was a thoroughly enjoyable film, very much of it's time.
Disney's odd fascination with remaking it's classic films to be "grittier" continued with a 2016 version.
The film is immediately more on-the-nose, as we meet Pete as a very young boy, orphaned by a car crash, and then lost in the woods for years. Cut to a few years later, when the forest is being cut down by a logging company, and Pete is discovered.
The characters all react fairly naturally - Pete's taken in with the caveat that he'll be handed over to social services; Dr Judge Bones (Karl Urban) is initially curious as to what could be knocking down the trees (that haven't been cut) and eventually evolves it into a money making scheme, without being over the top.
In essence, the characters are written believably, and the acting is definitely not hammy (much as I enjoy ham).
The special effects are a weak-point, but I was absorbed enough in the film that it eventually stopped bothering me, looking more like moss than polygons.
It's very different to the original, such that by seeing one you don't feel like you've seen the other. If you get the time watch both, but maybe not in a small timeframe.