George Lucas and Steven Spielberg (2 of my favourite producers/ directors) present an animated tale that takes place more than 65,000,000 years ago (a time overlapping the Jurassic Period and Cretaceous Period) where Littlefoot the Longneck (Apatosaurus), Cera the Threehorn (Triceratops), Ducky the Swimmer (Saurolophus), Petrie the Flyer (Pteranodon) and Spike the Spiketail (Stegosaurus) all take on an incredible journey to Paradise (The Great Valley) after being separated from their families due to an Earthshake (Earthquake) while also being pursued by the evil Sharptooth (Tyrannosaurus).
Honestly to me, what makes this story so special is that it opens up with Pat Hingle narrating the beginning (and throughout the story) while showing the pleasant birth of some of our heroes and soon within nearly 15 minutes escalates and erupts into chaos and ends with a heartbreaking moment (sounds interesting, right?)
But soon the ending will leave you with a smile as you see the triumphant conclusion that couldn't have gone any better!
You must be wondering "Why see this film?" "If it's so sad then why watch it?" "Isn't this too childish to watch as an adult?"
Well my answer is "Yes!" this is a children's film but due to the positive success and serious criticism that it received for showing far too emotional and some horrible scenes (for a kids film), it really grabs your attention. And I feel it's a one of a kind story that I think appeals to adults too while the kids just enjoy the dinosaurs. I also wanted to write this up because even though I watch this sometimes by myself or when I have children with me, it's just a good film to watch and it always leaves me crying tears of joy and happiness (like watching a soppy romance novel/ film) and proves how a sad beginning can have a delightful ending that leaves me happy.
Even Mufasa's Death gets me every time, too!
Looking back on it sometimes, I feel there are "hidden connotations" in this film like how pursuing your goal though the struggle can lead you to your paradise (happy place). Also I noticed "prejudice" because the dinosaurs only talked/ played with their own kind but soon the little ones end up breaking that barrier and they all become friends and a small herd despite all being different. I can't help but admire how the young voice actors for the characters spoke and performed so well and passionate at such a young age.
One of my favourite happy moments in the film (besides the ending) is when one little hero during the fight with Sharptooth, saves his friends and overcomes his own fear/ barrier (I smile everytime I see that moment).
The animation looks rather dark (not evil, but rather colour shade) since this was during an ancient time (maybe that's the reason for the colour choice). There were some bright colours involved like sometimes in the sky and most of all the ending. I remember looking up online a few days ago, that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg wanted to base the story on Disney's Fantasia - The Rite Of Spring, in a way I can see the similarity in atmosphere (especially during the Earhshake) and colour scheme.
The magnificent music score was made by James Horner and everytime certain tracks are played, I have tears in my eyes (at songs like Whispering Winds and this one) due to how I know this film too well and the atmosphere varies with heartbreaking and uplifting moments and overall it's thrilling and calming for a children's film.
Everytime I listen to the soundtrack, I instantly visualise in my head without fail where that moment is in the film.
Also the talented Diana Ross sang the film's ending song/ theme and it reminds me how my mum used to sing that song to me when I was 2 as a lullaby (aww).
I regret to inform you all how a special character in the film Ducky was voiced by a young talented actress "Judith Barsi" who after the film, was murdered by her paranoid and abusive father. I honour this film as a memory to her and her mother who lost their lives after this film was made. Ducky's voice actor was replaced by "Heather Hogan" and finally "Aria Noelle Curzon", so her legacy lived on in the sequels! Even her gravestone has Ducky's iconic phrase on it - Yep! Yep! Yep!
The final fight was epic and I'm glad the score was even by the end, I wanted to rush in their and "Falcon Punch" him and say "That was for her!" whilst he sank to his watery grave.
After a ferocious fight with Sharptooth near the end, all nearly seemed lost for Littlefoot, but a cloud helps show him the way from the light from it's heart (it was a nice touch). And the rest you can guess what happens, but I recommend you see it for yourself if you are interested at all?
The legacy to this 26 year old film ended up with 12 more direct-to-video sequels until 2007 (not made by same producers) that were more light-hearted and full of adventures and songs. And around 2010 a children's TV series was made (it's set after the 13th film) and also featured several new characters and the return of some of my favourite characters from the sequels (along with some sing-alongs I sang too when I was around 8). I enjoyed all the sequels especially numbers 2,3,4,5 and 10.
But number 10 a lot especially due to Littlefoot meeting the most important person in his life (voiced by the legendary Kiefer Sutherland)!
I found the films on Putlocker or just googled everywhere.
This paragraph here is me updating this special post on 23rd November 2014, you see I was going through YouTube and found this video which is a special one that I used to watch on The Land Before Time Sing A-Long Songs VHS from when I was little and watching most of the sequels. This video showed many fascinating Dinosaur facts that were made easy for children to understand and featured many songs from the first 4 sequels (excluding the original film). This song is a cover of the original song by Diana Ross in the original film which is the best version, but in this one Cera and Ducky's voice actors from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th films performed this special sing a-long song on that film only. I just had to add it to this post even though it's so so late. It's a montage of many scenes from the 2nd till 4th film, it contains spoilers but it's a cheery song that makes me hum along to it and shed a little tear at rewatching special memories from when I was little.
I reckon I'm gonna start writing up the sequels over a period of time as well as play several tracks too and show how unique they are, plus I've been updating this post far too many times haha.
I understand that this review seems quite emotional and maybe a bit depressing and it's not the best review to get your attention positively, but this film has had an impact in my life. It shows how not all children's films have happy beginnings, however check this film out and see what you think. I hope to show other good understanding friends (maybe my future girlfriend) this one too since it'll show my softer side and it'll be like showing something from my childhood, even if it's sad (look at Titanic and how many times people watch that).