Rumors and Lampie's beery mutters about Elliott eventually reach slimy snake-oil salesman Doc Terminus (Jim Dale) and his tipsy helper Hoagy (Red Buttons). Familiar with the legends about the supernatural healing properties of dragon's blood, skin and organs, the greedy quack and his inept sidekick plot to capture Elliott.
Don't be fooled by the misprint on the Blu-ray case: The film's runtime is not 88 minutes; it's closer to 128 minutes. The fantasy suffers from too many comedians intent on one-upmanship as well as a glut of forgettable musical interludes penned by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn (Academy Award winners for “The Towering Inferno” and “The Poseidon Adventure”), who did craft a few show-stealers with “Brazzle Dazzle Day,” “Boo Bop Bopbop Bop (I Love You, Too)” and the Oscar-nominated “Candle on the Water.”
While the effects look understandably dated, “Pete's Dragon” has enough winsome magic to captivate younger viewers, even if they don't make it all the way to the movie's end.
— Brandy McDonnell