DTV wonders: The Land Before Time XIII The Wisdom of Friends

Am I the only adult in the world who watches this film once a year?  It is considered to be universally panned, but it still has some good parts.  Not enough to make it any where near a good movie, but just maybe enough to stay out of the bottom spot.  It has some immediate bad parts.  With the exception of Journey Through the Mists (4) it is the only one that does not have Littlefoot on the side of the box, which is the first thing the viewer has on the shelf to remind them what series it is from.  Jamie Mitchell for one film takes over as director from Charles Grosvenor.  There is no music from the original film, and I do not think any of the music is original and designed for this film, even though it is still used well, but worst of all the title is horrible.

It starts with a few poor commercials.  The Later Day sequel trilogy was for nine years the last three movies.  They are known for being the worst trilogy in the series, and only one of them is positively viewed.  They really seemed to be for a younger audience and took away most of the interesting things like intense conflict and battles.

At least the Universal logo is good as always.  It then does a similar shot to the beginning of Journey of the Brave (14), but the CGI is much worse.  More on that later.  I actually think that up until the sleep story this has a good beginning.  I like seeing the t-rex chasing the velociraptors and the little creature hiding to show its unique survival skills.  When it shows Littlefoot and Grandma we get to the first two problems.  For one I thought Littlefoot’s actor here was fine the first three watches, but now I find him annoying.  Again Littlefoot is voiced by a one movie actor, but he did return from the TV series.  Another problem is due to Kenneth Mars’s sickness he has no lines.  He was always the wise and more adventurous grandparent, while Grandma was more of the heart.  After 11 movies of clearly seeing that and 12 thinking it I have a problem seeing him not lead the group as Grandma does it, which she never did before.  I actually have no problem with Littlefoot going over the tree on the ditch.  It is no more dangerous than many of his past adventures, but the movie does not present it that way.  I think the director forgot his audience knew they were watching sequels about previously established adventure experienced heroes.  He also showed where it seemed they were shown as experienced in journeys (with the thirsty and drinking when it is available scene) only for Ducky to ruin the moment.  Back to the introduction, a freak Earth shake nearly kills Littlefoot and Grandma nearly dies saving him.  He would have been fine, as that is nothing compared to the similar situation in The Stone of Cold Fire (7).  This is presented with Littlefoot in the wrong, but that doe not work for two reasons.  Littlefoot is the valley’s biggest or second biggest hero because he takes risks like that.  Also he was only in danger because of a freak earthquake.  This scene is way worse on paper, due to Tavera’s score creating needed suspense.  After that Grandma tells him “The Wisdoms.”  They are overly basic for my tastes.  The introduction is probably one of the best parts, which is not saying much.

The theme is very basic for the series.  It is that everyone has their own special way of being good.  It also has some of an epistemological debate, but I do not think that was intended.

Littlefoot has some poor moments here.  He seems to be inexperienced and wrong for most of the film, even though by most standards he should be right about things like the tree and the Yellow Bellies.  He at least pulls of some impressive feats like leading a herd for the first time since The Time of the Great Giving (3).  He shows the theme by being a doubter and representing reason.

Cera is often portrayed as in the right (very surprising).  Littlefoot is presented as making a mistake when he is mad at Cera for playing a game that involves screaming for help (as every parent agrees).  She also says the Yellow Bellies “Were just fine” before they got there.  I think Littlefoot is right they were  just lucky based on their horrible survival skills.  She also gets in an annoying friendship with Doofah (Loofah?  I cannot tell them apart), which means Cera hates her at first and then starts liking her later.

Ducky and Petrie are not important, but Petrie gets some good lines at least.  Spike is important to Foobie.

The songs are not good.  “Say So” is the worst song in the franchise for about forty minutes.  It has horrible animation, gets bad after the first verse, and it is rather annoying.   I was tempted to say it is better than “Yellow Belly Dance”, but it at least has some character development in it and catchy lyrics.  As poor as it is it fells like it was from The Land Before Time franchise, while “Say So seems to be from a Disney song, while Land Before Time is an alternative to.  “How Do You Know” is the champion of the first two movies.  It is about the epistemological debate.  It concludes that the way is through experience, and I like that.  I like the song.

As I said earlier the animation is not good.  Many shots look off.  The clouds and grass are blatantly CGI.  Littlefoot’s eyelashes disappear and reappear.

The major problem is the Yellow Bellies for one Loofah and Doofah have way to similar names to see them as characters.  Foobie is the wise one.  It is foreshadowed too much and was too obvious.  It does help that he mirrors Spike like that, and one very good subtle foreshadowing was he was shown storing food for later and sharing it.  Besides that I knew he was the wise one almost immediately.  They are said to be very fast runners

as shown in this six pack.  They are meant to be portrayed as capable of surviving, but it is not a wonder they went extinct after Foobie died of old age.  They thought a herd of sharpteeth was a mirage as they “Could even hear it and smell its breath.”  Doofah (Loofah) after annoyingly saying “You’re beautiful” four times also wonders into a mudslide and chokes on flowers.  she is definitely going to die soon.  Besides her the rest the pack is surprisingly fine and not annoying with Foobie and Littlefoot’s help.  Most of their humor actually is pretty funny, so I will give them that.  They also give some fairly okay arguments for intuition.

To my surprise John Loy was still the writer, and he was not ready for an epistemological debate, but he could still write sharpteeth.  The scar one has did not work but having four did, as it was more than in The Great Longneck Migration (10).  Unfortunatly the climax is just horrible.  It is so bad the sharpteeth jump off a cliff to get away from it.  I wish I was exaggerating.  After that Grandma finds the rest of the group and tells them “The most important wisdom, do not leave the great valley.”  Lets analyze that from each movie.

1- An impossibility, thus the most important wisdom (They should have looked up some synonyms) is irrelevant.

2- If not done then Ducky loses a sibling, and future friends die.  In her defense leaving did create problems.

3- Everyone dies of fire, thirst or hunger.

4- Grandpa dies, and without his leadership I think all the residents of the Great Valley die later.

5- Everyone des of hunger.  If they did not leave the group later everyone splits up and most die later.

6- She is right this time except they had to follow others leaving, so two toddlers are eventually eaten.

7- Ducky dies and the possibility of future dictator gets supernatural powers.  Also aliens view Earth negatively and conqueror it making everyone die.

8- Everyone starves and dies.

9- They are forever separated from everyone else.

10- They think leaving was important and Grandma championed leaving.  Also Bron dies in 14.

11- They never left in this one, yet still make all of the films problems..

12- Guido dies.

13- The yellow bellies Loofah, Doofah, and Foobie die.  Without Foobie the rest die.

(later) 14- Bron dies and his herd is in trouble.

I guess Grandma does not value life.  Another oddity is this is to my knowledge the only one where Mr. Threehorn does not speak.  Tria does it instead.  It also ends with a title drop.

Some more good parts include that Miriam Flynn acted very well as Grandma.  It attacked the critics who said the mysterious beyond is somehow both a desert and a rain forest by showing it is large and the area has both terrains.  It was also shown in 14, 4, and 10.  Basically the later sequels prefer the desert and earlier ones prefer the rain forest.  It also had a good middle action scene.

This film has some good parts, but it is consistently bad, which makes it hard to please anyone.  Besides a Land Before Time collection there is not much point to it.

The new running time rankings are 14 (82 minutes), 13 (76 minutes)

The worst three songs are 3. Hot and Stinky (14) 2. Yellow Belly Dance (13) 1. Say So

The three best songs are 3.Today is the Day (14)  2.Better off Alone  (14) 1. How do you Know.

The climax rating is 14, 13.

The film rating is now 14, 13.  I think this will be at the bottom for a long time.

 

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