It is, in the best Disney tradition, a story of childhood's end, of leaving the family and accepting adult responsibilities. Bluth relates it through a smooth counterpoint of humor, sadness and horror.
Just like The Secret of NIMH and An American Tail and just like The Secret of NIMH, The Land Before Time is another one of those movies I've watched on Cartoon Network the first time. I only seen this twice as a kid and by that time, I still remembered it to this day. The story I suppose is similar to Bambi, is about a young longneck named Littlefoot who befriends with Cera and the Tyrannosaurus rex known as Sharptooth and the earthquake seperated the families of Littlefoot and Cera. So now it's up to Littlefoot to go find the Great Valley along with his friends, Cera, Ducky, Petrie and Spike. OK, so this movie is really short for about one hour even similar. Actually that how Don Bluth wanted it to be. He wanted to make it similar to Bambi but only with dinosaurs. That explains it the running time! What's even more is that it released in the exact same weekend as Oliver and Company which is my favourite Disney film. They actually prefer to go see The Land Before Time over Oliver and Company. Cause the message in this says it teaches dinosaurs about prejudice between the different species and the hardships they endure in their journey. Steven Spielberg uses the inspiration to Jurassic Park which is always amazing. Okay, while I was thinking about this, it never had any songs apart from the one in the end credits by Diana Ross. It never became a musical and for a fact this is not the only one. In most animated movies, they're never claim as musicals, Disney is and sometimes Dreamworks. It spawned many sequels which I've never watched before and the TV show. However I remember it being on Boomerang. So once again as a Don Bluth fan, I love this movie even when I remember watching it as a kid. Such a phenomenon!
Don Bluth propelled by Spielberg and Lucas, what else ? I can still remember other kids at recess talking about this movie. At the time, I didn't have the VHS, I was 7 or 8 and I had not watched it yet. I first saw a while after at one of my dad's colleagues, but it was only a bit of it, then we had to leave. There is no word to describe the frustration I felt back then. Bluth's talent to stage intense scenes and fluff everything up from there made this movie a great movie for children. The dark yet real themes that are fearlessly dealt with in this monument only make it so much stronger, as it doesn't use any magical wand, only pure talent and the will to make something beautiful.
Bluth, a former Disney animator, understands that the greatest Disney films take us on an emotional journey in which all our hopes and fears are played out in a vivid fantasy world where anything can happen. The Land Before Time continues that great tradition.
Don Bluth (An American Tail) has gone to the trouble of differentiating between the species, of being careful of the scale of one in relation to another and of giving very little children a sort of primer of dinosaur lore.
This tale of prehistoric cuteness (sort of a Clan Of The Care Bears) is mostly dreadfully slow when it is not being overbearingly cloying. Bluth has done much better work in the past and certainly will again. This isn't it. [18 Nov 1988, p.7]
The premise is seemingly simple; it's set at the great extinction of the dinosaurs and the protagonists are trying to journey to the 'Great Valley', a small patch of land where vegetation remains.
Yes, it may be 'ootsie cutsie' as some say but this movie is definitely not childish at it's heart. Obviously, it is a children's movie and the story line is atypical in ways but at it's core, this movie deals with serious moments that all of us will face in an incredibly mature fashion and it delivers them in a way that doesn't treat (older) children like imbeciles. We all have to face the suffering these protagonists face one day and though it's not always direct about that, the way it delivers it is heartfelt and sincere. With all due respect to those who think it's 'goofy' or 'cheesy' at times, I would disagree and say that they are a lesson to children and adults alike. That when things are bad and people suffer (which we all will experience), the thing that pulls us through these times is perseverance, acceptance, humour, friendship and love. It might have delivered them in a 'goofy' way to children but unlike most modern children's movie, it's not just about gaining cheap laughs but that when we're in dark times and we are suffering we need to pull through it with some light.
Most children movies don't deal with serious life events as a way to convey a moral and philosophical message in the way this movie does.
Another great Don Bluth movie and the last great movie from her. Land before time is beautiful animated, well written and majestral composer by James Horner. This movie is great for kids and great for adults, and make Don Bluth a animated legend.