DTV Wonders: The Land Before Time XI Invasion of the Tinysauruses

 

        I came into this review thinking this just might have a chance at being lower than The Wisdom of Friends (13), but I was wrong.  It has plenty of problems, but it is much better.  This is the last of the franchise I saw as the target demographic, but I never owned a copy until I decided to complete the series.  I remember being okay with it, but I did not want to see it again really.
            Many fans consider The Great Day of the Fliers (12) a successor to The Stone of Cold Fire (7).  They said Pterano should have made an appearance.  That is wrong as Pterano would have been an unnecessary distraction, and besides focusing on Petrie there are no notable similarities.  11 Is obviously similar to The Great Valley Adventure (2).  Both take place mostly in the great valley.  Both deal with Littlefoot feeling too small.  Both are the only ones that involve sharpteeth invading the great valley (technically done in 9 but not as a major plot point).  It supports my theory that starting with 11 the producers were trying to bring a new audience in that they heavily looked at the first sequel, and made the tenth one to be like the first one to give closing to old fans and be the original to new fans.  The plan did not work.  For older fans there is no need to watch 11 instead of 2 and for newer fans it is just not good enough to encourage more interest.  Another problem is the films typically came out a little before Christmas giving parents time to gift them to their children.  This started a trend of releasing them in February removing that.
         
          Universal typically has great commercials, and the one for Balto III is great.  It seems similar enough to the original, but also plenty different.  It gives a good indication of a bull moose attack.  It also has the same music as the toy Story commercial.  I think Thunderbirds was advertised as a mock buster to Power Rangers, which is not good.  the Shark Tale commercial gives me no interest.
           Of note for 11 is that again John Loy is the writer and Charles Grosvenor is the director.  Aaron Spann is again a voice actor for Littlefoot that will only last one movie.  There are a surprisingly high seven of them (but Cody Arens did return for the TV series).  This is the last film to use music from the original, but none of it is from “For if we Hold on Together.”  It came out when I was nine, but I probably saw it at ten years old.  This did not kill my interest in the series, but it did not let it build.  The theme seems to change.  For one small details are important.  Do not lie.  Those are at least connected in song (again), but it is rather good.  Lies can be small and be very bad similar to how “the tiny ones” are small and can be important.  The worst character in the series  seems to show always be nice to people especially the hypocrite Mary Sues.
         The introduction is very fine at first.  Universal logo is great as always.  I also really like how it shows the atoms and molecules to show the importance of small things.  After that it gets worse.  The immediate plot is the group wants to eat some “tree sweets,” which are at their best once a year.  Not too exciting.  It is hard to realize today is not “nibbling day.”  We then get to another early problem.  Petrie is trying to get one, and Mr. Threehorn yells at him, but it is hard to hear his yell.  It looks like Petrie just fell.  It turns out Mr. Threehorn is in charge of watching the tree sweets.  Based on the name I guess they are supposed to be dinosaur junk food.  The introduction becomes good again.  Mr. Threehorn is portrayed as very harsh, but unlike most times it is harsh for the right reasons, everyone will get some of the tree sweets, since they are the best.  It is also shown that Cera thinks she will get the first one, which I have trouble seeing much meaning behind.
             From there the next plot point comes, Littlefoot being too short.  According to Cera (and everyone else later) Littlefoot is short by Longnecks his age standards.  Since he is mostly  with non-longnecks I do not see much of a problem.
Tail 5
                 Until he tries to prove to himself he is big enough to get the first tree sweet from the top of a tree and falls knocking every one down.
 Tail 6.png
         Is that even possible?  He then faints.  Considering all he has made it through I am surprised he only faints here instead of when his mom died or when he was attacked by sharpteeth all those previous times.  Clearly they are portraying Littlefoot as more flawed here, but it comes off more ridiculous.  They should have taken inspiration from The Secret of Saurusrock (6).  It portrayed Littlefoot as more flawed, while staying very true to him and having the viewers rooting for him when they needed to.
                      Everyone who saw the cover probably then knew the titular “Tiny ones” would eat everything.  Fortunately when I first saw it I missed the opening titles and the box, so this was still surprising.  Littlefoot then flees wen Mr. Threehorn comes with the worst character in the series, Tria.  I have not explained my hatred for her in later films, but now is the time.  She is portrayed as so positive, yet she is nothing but a supposedly flawless (but somewhat love struck) hero, but she is incredibly shallow and self-righteous.  She is shown as like a high school girlfriend.  It is never explained then why Mr. Threehorn (I am not calling him Topsy, which I consider to be a pet name) chose Cera’s mom over her way back.  She also almost never calls him anything good but synonyms for handsome.  It makes her seem so shallow.  At least it gives us the interesting part where Cera overhears them saying Tria will get the first tree sweet, which she later brags about to everyone.  She is just the shallow person who brags that his/her spouse is important.
              With these three surprisingly well connected plot threads (good job editing Jay Bixsen, as someone has to make this work) Mr. Threehorn is holding a meeting.  Normally I find The Great Valley dinosaurs listen to him too much due to his disastrous leadership in The Time of the Great Giving (3), but I think enough time has passed for them to forgive and forget.  Mr. Threehorn says someone stole from them and Littlefoot panics an screams “I didn’t do it.”  Arguably this fits Littlefoot’s not-so-stoic personality, but I cannot see him losing over something with no great emotional loss.  All he had to do was stay quiet.  With the eyes on him Tria says she saw him running away.
                                               Who to believe?
Littlefoot Tria
Saved eveyone’s life in 3 at least once and twice for most.

Saved their great leader in 4.

Saved everyone in 5

Saved a family’s twins in 6

Some think he saved their lives in 7 and certainly helped mend a family

Saved everyone’s life in 8.

They think he saved all their lives in 10.

No one but Mr. Threehorn seems to know her.

Littlefoot made problems in 2.

At best for most dinosaurs they owe Littlefoot at least four life debts.  It could be argued Littlefoot putting them in danger (which basically only a small group faced ends one.  Also they came to save them in 5 (where they got saved).  The only grown ups to seek him out so save him since are Mr. Thicknose, Grandma and Grandpa.  That still leaves everyone with two life debts to Littlefoot assuming practically nothing counts as repayment.  Littlefoot should be considered too important to touch, but the entire Valley just about is against him.  This is easily the most negative the valley has ever been or will be portrayed.  Littlefoot makes up a story that the Tiny Ones got them without his accidental help, and no one believes him until Mr. Threehorn finds evidence.  Since only three movies ago Littlefoot’s bizarre story lead them to survival and four movies ago he saw a stone of cold fire that was proven true why believe him now.  Also Mr. Threehorn must be the greatest politician of all time to have these ungrateful idiots believe everything he says.  Did he invent mind control?

          Now…

Mr. Club Tail just spoke for the first time since The Mysterious Island (5).  He now has a completely different voice (by Jeff Bennet instead of Rob Paulsen) and personality.  After that Mr. Threehorn leads in his first song since 3, “Creepy Crawlies.”  It is told in two parts and the part sang by Ducky and Petrie is superior.  I think it counts as a villain song for showing the villainous sides of our heroes in a man vs himself story.  It is surprisingly fast, and it is a slightly better version of “Savages” from Pocahontas.  It then shows that The Great Valley dinosaurs are not capable of finding something so small.  Did they kick out their good trackers and smaller members?  This is far from the smartest they have been portrayed.  At least Petrie gives some good laughs at this part.

Littlefoot falls into the hole, and things finally get much better.  All right they do not get better until he is done screaming.  I got tired of hearing him scream, and finding unusual sights should be Tuesday for him by now.  Littlefoot eventually befriends them, due to his joy at feeling big again and presumably due to enjoying them.  The only important ones are Skitter (I always liked that name), Lizzy (the oldest apparently), and Big Daddy.  Michael Duncan voices Big Daddy with a great Kevin Michael Richardson impression.  Big Daddy is very harsh but he trusts his children that Littlefoot did not rat them out earlier.  I actually like it how the stern dad is very trusting probably knowing if wrong Littlefoot would not make a problem.  He also makes a fine call that they are moving due to not being able to find food resulting in Littlefoot volunteering to bring them food back every night.  I think this is a good one night plan, but after that burst of strength do not push luck.

Tail 7.png

Cera catches up to Mr. Threehorn and Tria.  All of their relationships seem so fake except Threehorn and Cera’s relationship.  It is later revealed Cera does not like her due to the changes it will make, which is explained better in 12.   After that the gang minus Littlefoot catches him moving tree stars, and they fall into the hole.  Only Cera wants to keep to a secret, as this is not the gang’s most positive portrayal either.  Cera gets the rest of the group to keep it a secret.  Apparently Littlefoot’s leadership position is being challenged.   How did that go last time?

Not exactly Heaven

Big Daddy believes her with parent’s intuition, and the gang is shown having fun with the tiny ones, which is good for mood building.  We then get to the second song “Girls and Dads.”  When I watched it with he rest of my family my sisters said to make sure dad never heard it.  It is obviously a parody of “Me and My Dad” from 10.  I always found it dull and repetitive.  It tells nothing knew that Lizzy and Cera did not discuss earlier.  I am convinced that the budget on musicians and instruments for the songs was axed, as they sound way too similar now.  There are then a few scenes of the gang being tired, and in one Cera runs into a tree and Tria shows up surprisingly angry.  “Look Cera.  I have tried every way I know to be nice to you.”  Tria, you have told her hi and mocked her for being sleepy.  If that is every way you now how then please get eaten.  After that Mr. Threehorn catches the gang up at night and sends them home.  Mr.  Threehorn then catches Lizzy and Skitter looking for them.  In a well done chase scene he finds their hide out.  Tria realizes they are good guys because they are … “cute.”  She really is he most shallow dinosaur on this show.  The Yellow Bellies are better than her.  Mr. Threehorn is now mad with her and she is furious at him.  Who else is cheering for them to break up?

After that literally the entire valley wants to clog the hole except Grandma and Grandpa.  Littlefoot stops the by admitting his lie, but a rock slide from the rocks Mr. Threehorn and Mr. Clubtail moved still clogs it.  It then shows Tria mad at  Mr. Threehorn and Littlefoot’s friends mad at him.  In one way making the rocks fall is terrible, as it makes Littlefoot’s admission of guilt pointless.  In another way is brilliant.  Besides the first one this might be the lowest he has ever been, and I like that quite well.

Did I mention how well the songs are paced here?  Bisxsen is making up for his peers’ mistakes.  “If Only” is the best song.  It is ties in both main morals.  It is a fine prep song, and it is also the only time Grandpa Longneck sings a song in the franchise.

After a little bit of wasted time with Tria and an okay scene with Littlefoot’s friends being mad at him that serves as both comic relief and sadness ( a good feat to pull off) the Tiny ones venture to the desert part of the Mysterious Beyond to find Sharpteeth.

T2.png
Frank Welker Voices someone in every movie

The sharpteeth follow them through the tunnel and into a small hole leading to the Great Valley.  First time with Fast Biters since 7, and the first time sharpteeth invaded since 2.  The climax has to wait to resolve some internal tensions.  Ducky, Petrie, and Spike feel guilty about making Littlefoot mad.  At least they are grateful to his past accomplishments and take offense about claims the other hurt him the worst.  It is entertaining.  With the real plot mostly wrapped up we get to the climatic sharptooth attack.  Normally the gang fights by running and throwing rocks.  Here they do everything but throw rocks.  They pull branches back to hit them.  They trip them with vines (another reference to 2), Spike trips one, and… Skitter and Lizzy come back to tickle one.  I think there was key deleted scene with them.  Sure tickling is odd, but at least it is new.  The only problem is again Tria shows up to be totally useless.  In fact it ends with the tiny ones and children hiding behind Mr. Threehorn and Tria is also hiding being him completely useless, and the velociraptors are using their numbers advantage to good use circling him.  I am thinking Loy and Grosvenor hated her too.  Fortunately the rest of the valley comes, but with how negatively they were portrayed I think only Grandpa coming to the rescue would seem more heroic.  Also Grandpa and Mr. Clubtail are then clogging the hole, when it should have had Mr. Threehorn helping.

Instead of a song from the film being in the end credits the tiny ones sing a reprise of “Creepy Crawlies” called “Stoopid Stompers,” which is actually better.

The songs are the most mediocre in the series.  Littlefoot is portrayed negatively and if it was not a sequel with an already established protagonist this would have been good.  Cera adds some fine moments.  Ducky, Petrie, and Spike gave some helpful comic relief but were too dumb for the discovery scene.  Mr. Threehorn was  actually very good here as a villainous protagonist.  Tria is awful.  Grandpa was very good in his limited screen time.  The Tiny ones were surprisingly bland besides Big Daddy.  The real weakness is the plot makes no sense due to already established personalities.  Some major strengths include that the bad parts are normally entreatingly bad for their plot holes, it is never boring, and like most Don Bluth movies, the protagonist reaches a very low point emotionally.

The songs are too medium to make any change in the best and worst songs list.

The new climax rating is 12, 14, 11, 13.

The new film rating is 14, 12, 11, 13.  This was a very easy ranking spot.

The new running time order is 14 (82 minutes), 12/11 (81 minutes each), 13 (76 minutes)

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