The Land Before Time
THE LAND BEFORE TIME (1988)
Notes: Universal. Animated. 69 grating minutes.
Narrator: Pat Hingle
Voice of Littlefoot: Gabriel Damon
With the voice talents of Fred Gwynne and Helen Shaver.
Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall
Producers: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy
Directed: Don Bluth
Screenplay: Stu Krieger
Story: Judy Freudberg, Tony Geiss
Music: James Horner.
Summary: Water life is somewhat treacherous, but the film moves onto land:”Once upon this same earth” long before you or apesexisted, “in the time of the dinosaurs.” There areonly two kinds of dinosaurs essentially: leaf-eaters with flatteeth and sharp-toothed meat-eaters who “preyed upon theplant-eaters.” “Desperate for food,” all journeyto a legendary lush land, the Great Valley, which involves a marchof many dangers during which the leaf-eaters stop only long enoughto breed (“hatch their young”). “Even hatchingcould be dangerous,” mostly to our eardrums when infant dinosaursgiggle and shriek constantly. We see fairly mammalocentric scenesof licking and nuzzling dinosaurs. A bronto, Littlefoot, knowsonly his mother and one set of grandparents. He and all otherdinosaurs we meet are driven in all respects by supposed hunger. These other brat dinos include Cera, a continually ear-shatteringTriceratops; Petrie, a pterodon; Spike and Ducky–god knows whatthe hell they are. A T-Rex threatens two of the brats, and motherBronto fights it until a “clash of continents” quakesthe land cataclysmically. Mother dino dies of her T-Rex woundswith would-be deep but moronic advice like “let your heartguide you.” Other dinosaurs are divided from their families. Sob.
An old dinosaur tries to bring Littlefoot throughthe five stages of grief by philosophizing that the “greatcircle of life has begun,” which is BS since death has begun. Littlefoot has various hallucinations of his mother, includingmistaking his own shadow for her. The brats journey to the GreatValley, searching for food, fighting, shrieking, trying to getPetrie to fly, and evading the T-Rex whom they call “Sharp-tooth.” They find the BFValley and nuzzle with family members. We seefuzzy memories of what we had to put up with an hour ago and thefinal insistence is that their story became legend, passed downfor generations (so they’re all breeders). Diana Ross sings awould-be inspirational song but the credits continue through theeighteen-thousand people responsible for this pile of dino-doo.
Commentary: I think we need to read the Great Valley as Death. The earthquakeseparation has them referring to “the other side,” andvisions of Bronto-Mom keep luring Littleass to this mystical “valley.” Notify Tipper Gore.
The dinosaurs here are defined by their foodpreferences and driven entirely by hunger. It’s a fine line betweenepic and ipecac.
THE LAND BEFORE TIME II:
THE GREAT VALLEY ADVENTURE (1994)
Notes: Animated. 74 minutes.
Probably all the same jackasses as the original, minus the famous names.
Summary: The loud brat dinosaurs find an egg and decide not to eat it. After all the crap about getting to the elysian Great Valley in the first place, they take off for the “Mysterious Beyond.” They encounter oviraptors, tyrannosaurs, geologic cataclysms, and then go home. So why is this one called the Great Valley Adventure?
Commentary: If the Great Valley is Death, the Mysterious Beyond must be Hell, and you’ll agree when you watch The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure!
THE LAND BEFORE TIME III:
THE TIME OF THE GREAT GIVING (1995)
Notes: Animated. 71 minutes.
Summary: Time for the great giving up: there will be no end of these shrieking brat-flicks. Here a meteorite screws the Great Valley out of water, so Littlefoot and the other brat dinos waddle off in searchof another source. They sing songs, god help us.
Commentary: Someone, stop them. I beg of you.
THE LAND BEFORE TIME IV:
JOURNEY THROUGH THE MISTS (1996)
Notes: Animated. 74 minutes.
Summary: Grandpa Brontosaurus has got what no doubt is a trumped-up disease designed to propel Littlefoot and his gang out of the Great Valley so we can all have some peace. Maybe they’ll be slaughtered mercilessly by my dog, Frog, or will fall into a river of lava. The adorable morons yomp to the “Land of the Mists” to find a floral antidote for Gramps, a symbolic Jack Daniels, which they bring back. I think they learn a valuable and sanctimonious lesson about life.
Commentary: I refuse to allow these endless sequels to have their own pages. One more of these things and I start getting obscene.
THE LAND BEFORE TIME V:
THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1997)
Notes: Animated. 74 minutes.
Summary: Food is scarce again for the dinosaurs, this time due to a plague of locusts sent by Yahweh to eliminate these cheery illegitimate offspring of Barney off the face of the earth. Littlefoot, Ducky, Spike, and others shriek, “Let’s go ravage the Mysterious Island!” They meet up with Chomper the T-Rex. Then they all decide that the cannibalism taboo applies only to human culture and that they are free to eat each other. The wacky fun begins when they all get Ebola and projectile vomit themselves to death.
THE LAND BEFORE TIME VI:
THE SECRET OF SAURUS ROCK (1998)
Notes: Animated. 77 minutes of your life.
Summary: Magically reconstituted from chunks of their own hurl, Littlefoot and his chums witness the seamier side of prehistory with a visit to Saurian Rock, where, after a rousing chorus of “So That’s a Cockatrice,” they are befriended by Vonda, a lizardine prostitute with a cloaca of gold.
Commentary:There’s not even a catalog description of this one. No one is willing to watch any more of these. Who must we kill? Or are these now entirely computer-generated?
THE LAND BEFORE TIME VII:
THE STONE OF COLD FIRE (2000)
Notes: Animated. 153 hours, 7 minutes.
Summary: A cataclysmic meteor shower, global cooling, the poisoning of all food forms, natural selection, clubbings by cavemen, and a full year of torrential acid rain — all this spells obliteration for our plucky huggabunchables.
Commentary:I am happy to say that I’ve never had the kind of surgery to which I am inclined to compare the effect of these films. Satan can do a lot with “cute,” and I take comfort in the knowledge that he is even now constructing a special chamber in Hell for the people responsible for these cartoon enemas.
THE LAND BEFORE TIME VIII:
THE BIG FREEZE (2001)
Notes: Animated.3 weeks, 5 days, 16 hours, 9 minutes.
Summary: A Zoloft-saturated Winky and his incontinent friends explore cryogenics in this colorful piece of eduturdment. But it doesn’t shut them up!
Commentary:Having yourself spayed or neutered is now less expensive than maintaining this acquisition for your video library, and the other benefits are indescribably wondrous. Sorry if it’s too late, but be honest.
THE LAND BEFORE TIME IX:
JOURNEY TO BIG WATER (2002)
Notes: Animated.75 more minutes of your waning life.
Summary: The Great Valley is inundated in another of God’s attempts to annihilate the lot of them. An aquatic prehistoric dolphin-like creature named Mo needs help afflicting his own family with his hideous presence and so the whole jurASSic bunch lend ear-splitting assistance. A song by Donny Osmond wafts into the Great Valley.
Commentary:N.B.: Sadly, Dr. Delahoyde is currently unable to continue this page. We wish him a speedy recovery at the sanitarium.
THE LAND BEFORE TIME X:
THE GREAT LONGNECK MIGRATION (2003)
Notes: Animated.85 zippy fun fun minutes.
Summary: That adorable scamp, Littlefoot (gosh-darn, he’s a cutey!), and his o-so-huggable-you-could-just-eat-them-up friends follow Littlefoot’s wise and admirable grandparents out of the majestic, lovely, and colorfully-named Great Valley after the older dinosaurs experience a prophetic “sleep story.” Poor blessed Littlefoot undergoes the type of emotional difficulty that no little creature should have to, but life is so so hard sometimes and this story strikes the perfectly lovely life-affirming note. Super talents behind this film include the brutally handsome Kiefer Sutherland, that youthful cutey Bernadette Peters, erstwhile beef spokesperson James Garner (whose many surgical bi-passes seem to be working, knock on wood), and even songs by Olivia Newton-John (who on a ’70s game show when asked who wrote “The Entertainer” confidently knew the answer, “Marvin Hamlisch”).
Commentary:I, Dr. Micheal O. DeLaHoyde, want to tell you that this is the best time I have ever spend in front of the videocaset playor. I love this movey alot!!!! I culd watch this movie everyday!!!! Its the best thing sence the beggining of time!!!!!!
THE LAND BEFORE TIME XI:
THE INVASION OF THE TINYSAURUSES (2004)
Notes: Animated.81 minutes.
Summary: Littlefoop and his fiends learn a valumpable lesion when the Geat Valley is overrun by pintsliced prehisterical beasts, the Tinysaurususesisees.
Commentary: Oogie pookie boogie woo! Yes it is! Yes it is! Ijjie widgie weewee!