For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Animated Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Non-Disney/PIXAR) Movies, here’s a review of The Land Before Time (1988) by Steven of Past Present Future TV and Film
Thanks again to S.G. Liput of Rhyme and Reason for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Kim of Tranquil Dreams. We will be reviewing our favorite teenage/high school romance movies. Please get me your submissions by 25th June by sending them to email@example.com Try to think out of the box! Great choice Kim!
Let’s see what Steven thought of this movie:
On Second Thought: “The Land Before Time”
Older animated films, especially those from your childhood, are, to say the least, quite interesting films now. Whatever it is that made you love them so much may not be completely in tact. The experience as a whole could be rather jarring.
The Universal Pictures film “The Land Before Time”, has its cute moments, but as a whole film, it’s probably better left, if at all, with children.
This animated dinosaur tale features the voice talents of Judith Barsi (“Growing Pains”, “All Dogs Go to Heaven”), Burke Byrnes (“Grace Under Fire”, “Child’s Play 3”), Gabriel Damon (“Danny Boy (Short 2006)”, “Planet Ibsen”), Bill Erwin (“Everwood”, “The West Wing”), Pat Hingle (“The List”, “Batman Forever”), Candace Hutson (“The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists”, “The Maddening”), Will Ryan (“Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, “Get a Horse! (Short 2013)”), and Helen Shaver (“Down River”, “Birthday Cake”).
The film was directed by Don Bluth (“An American Tale”, “The Secret of NIMH”) and written by Stu Krieger (“A Final Gift (Short 2012)”, “Toot & Puddle”).
I think by now I’ve seen every film Bluth has ever directed. That’s not actually true, nor close to it, but it does make for an interesting observation. He had a hand in so many animated films from so many people’s childhood’s that I’m surprised, and maybe a little annoyed, that he hasn’t done a film in a long time. I think it’s time we give him something new to direct.
With regards to this film, it’s just, old. It’s almost 30 years old, and looks it. It may not be the films fault but the quality of the film is just bad. If its had any work done, I don’t have that version.
Along that line, is the animation, which surprisingly holds up. Of course it’s been greatly improved upon, but I’ve seen worse looking and older animated films, so this is a plus. It certainly doesn’t stop you from enjoying the world created and the story itself; well, hopefully.
I’m just going to say it now, mainly as I can’t bring myself, in any capacity, to delay further. I know if I try to it’ll be far more difficult than need be, and that’s just going to be painful for me and you.
This film kind of bored me.
Whatever it was that made me love this film as a child, is no longer present. That too seems to be a common theme right now.
When you dig deeper this film is about more than just finding the Great Valley, but that’s only interesting in the little bits that do come up during the overall story.
These little bits lie in the characters. It’s always been weird for me to talk about animated characters as they never seem to have much to them. Here is no different. You either like them or you don’t. They either have moments you like or you don’t. These moments are cute and may even make you smile and laugh for a brief second. But once that’s done with, you’re back to just watching characters that will (inevitably) find what they’re looking for.
I will admit though, that when some of these characters (Ducky and Petrie) were introduced, I did get excited about this. More likely than not it was because it played out exactly as I’ve remembered for a very long time. I discovered too, Cera is annoying. I only wanted to see her get eaten.
And like any good animated film, there must be a death. It can’t just be some random character either. No, it must be the parent or parents. In this case it was Little Foot’s mother. After fighting a Sharp Tooth, to save Little Foot and Cera, she dies from injuries sustained during this fight. Now, while I understand why there was little blood from these wounds, I was still disappointed in this absence. However, I was able to feel a lot of emotion from this death. It’s certainly one of the saddest moments in an animated film that I’ve ever seen.
And even with this sadness, I’m confused as to how she expected Little Foot to find his way. Follow some random items (of which I don’t know how she knew of them) and you’ll be headed in the right direction. The entire time he, and everyone else, seems to just be meandering around, without any real idea as to where they’re going, and then find themselves in the right place. If you don’t think too much on it, you’ll be fine. If you do, you’ll find one reason not to like this film as much.
Lastly, did I just say that? is the ending. It ends as you’d expect, but there’s one problem. The ending of this film kind of (really does) make the sequels impossible to exist. But, as we’re still seeing, sequels can, and do ignore the original films.
While this is a film kids may still enjoy, whatever you latched onto as a kid will probably not last into adulthood, or anything that’s supposed to resemble it. It’s got messages about friendship built in, but that only allows for individual moments to shine through more than the entire film. For a really short film though, I must say, these brief moments are totally worth it. The only other thing you’ll get from this, and many, older animated films, is some kind of nostalgia you didn’t know you were craving.
One of the original trailers: