The last time I looked movie dragons were part of the reptile family. Over 60 U.S.-produced movies and at least one HBO series (Games of Thrones) have featured big dragons over the last half century or so, and they’ve all had standard scaly reptile skin. And yet the dragon in David Lowery‘s Pete’s Dragon (Disney, 8.12) has green Dr. Seuss fur. It’s probably safe to say this will be the first Seussy dragon in movies, ever. (For the record, Disney’s 1977 animated version featured a traditional scaly beast.)

Obviously Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) decided he wanted to create a more fanciful dragon — a big E.T.-like creature, a friend of a young boy, a protector, etc. And that, to Lowery, meant no lizard-like skin.

Pete’s Dragon, which is not animated and is fully realistic save for the dragon FX, costars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Robert Redford, Karl Urban and Oona Lawrence. Press screenings are beginning next week.