As a young one myself I am the only one in my family who liked this one. Then I got older and ended up loving it more. Charles Grosvenor is again the director. Lee Uhley is the writer, and it is the only one he wrote. Like The Big Freeze (8) Danik Thomas instead of Jay Bixsen is the editor. This is the last film in the theme era, which focuses heavily on your heroes letting you down and dealing with it. It was a great idea to use this after The Secret of Saurus Rock (6), which focused on heroism in a different way.
Like in The Mysterious Island (5),and my 1997 copy of the original it has a trailer for the first five films, but it is extended to mention 7 (a little pointless) and show 6. It also includes the second sing along by advertising “The Lone Dinosaur” from 6 and “Songs from An American Tail I and II.” I did not know this, but the song they are playing is actually from the third film. The commercial for The Life and Adventure of Santa Claus is very good, but I doubt the term “instant classic” and the “real story” includes fairy looking creatures. The Road to el Dorado has a very funny commercial. The one for Joseph: King of Dreams does not. Both are fine movies. The commercial for An American Tail 4 is not good. I consider it to be t the same level as the second film in the series.
Like 6 John Ingle does not narrate, but Petrie is the narrator. Instead of praising the dinosaurs as usual he goes further back by saying there was no Threehorn, longneck, “not even sharptooth.” The last part reveals that they think the sharptooth came first interestingly. The oldest creature and most important is the flyer. Cera interrupts and…
The animation is a little different from the other films, and it took me a few minutes to get used to it. Cera instantly questions it. Cera and Petrie are very hostile for the beginning of this film. Petrie reveals his source is uncle Pterano. I used to think his uncle’s name was Toronto. Thank you Pterano for helping me to memorize the major events of the War of 1812. Back on subject Cera then says Mr. Threehorn taught her he was kicked out of the herd. Considering Mr. Threehorn refused to tell her any details it actually makes Petrie seem more believable here except for his anger filled reaction, and it is odd seeing Petrie like that. Ducky is much nicer to Petrie than Cera right there. I still do not see much point to them watching the far walkers other than giving an excuse for Petrie and Cera to fight a little more, and an excuse for the villains to arrive.
You can just make them out in the later shots. Strangely Littlefoot has not had a story arc yet. He wakes up in the night to see a comet. I think this should make some problems, but not really.
He tells Grandma and Grandpa and word somehow get around making the far walkers scared, so the rest of the Great Valley’s residents want it cleared up. They are happy with the idea that it is a flying rock (despite a previous group nearly killing all of them in 3), but Littlefoot tells them that it was flying lower, had a tail, and was blue. The animators did do a good job at making it look different from the asteroids in The Time of the Great Giving (3). We then get to a part I really love. A spiketail (not Mr. Clubtail) did not see it and dismisses it and then the rainbow faces come in.
They are even better than Mr. Thicknose. They dissect his reasoning as “If they cannot see it with their own two eyes it doesn’t exist. What limited thinking.” Even better is the comedic (but playful and questioning) music Michael Tavera uses making them seem even odder. As a conspiracy theorist I love seeing them outsmart them. Mr. Threehorn calls their idea that it was an extraordinary stone “impossible.” They respond by asking him if he already knows everything (explored in a different way in 8). He foolishly responds with “yes.” They have the perfect counter. “Why The Mysterious Beyond. Why not The Boing Beyond, or ooh, The Nothing of Interest to me Hear Beyond.” Besides being funny even for the fiftieth time this line is very smart. The Great Valley dinosaurs are calling what they fear mysterious, yet insist they know about space and their conventional believes are all true. Take that nellie Brie. The rainbow faces start the first song, “Beyond the Mysterious Beyond.” As a conspiracy theorist this really appeals to me. They discuss just how many mysteries there are and how odd the Earth is, and that solving mysteries just leads to more mysteries. Littelfoot joins in supporting them, and Cera joins in against them. I really like how the male rainbow face holds an atom in one part. After the song Grandpa reacts how any one would, confused that someone just sang an odd point. They make the case that it is a magical stone of cold fire. It can do miracles and it has messages from beyond The Mysterious Beyond. Mr. Threehorn ends it by giving a very conventional argument and it works. I guess warding off annoying guests is how he is still a major leader in The Great Valley. Grandpa convinces Littlefoot not to mention it to their superstitious guests, but he can talk about it to Grandpa.
The group ultimately has different opinions. Littlefoot acknowledges it makes little sense, but he knows it is different from the previous flying rocks. Ducky just thinks it is contradictory, but she wants to believe it. Petrie thinks it is too spooky. Cera would only believe it if she could see it, and then who comes in but Pterano.
It took me a while to figure out why he is so creepy in his opening scene, until I realized they are making him subtly resemble a fallen angel. He is a very popular character. Michael York does a great job voicing him, and he even makes his voice resemble Tim Curry, while staying something else. He subtly insults the other grown-ups, and he offers to help find the stone. His hench flyers come in being more obviously evil, and he proceeds to knock them both over. The rest of the group pretends to hear their parents calling, and they leave. One flyer is Sierra (Jim Cummings). He is aggressively trying to make sure they find the stone faster. Rinkus is played by Rob Paulsen. as a reference to Pinky and the Brain he is pink, which is great. It is nice seeing an evil pink male for a change, and it makes it seem like he is the most moral making his evil moments more shocking.
Littlefoot tells his grandparents that he meant Pterano, and he feels ashamed for not liking him, until the series reaches a first. Even Grandpa Longneck hates him. This is very surprising. A cut after shows Pterano telling Petrie and his siblings a time when he fought a sharptooth, which further shows Petrie idolizing him. To help prove himself to his uncle Petrie gets Littlefoot to tell him where the stone landed. To recap everyone’s positions
Littlefoot- Wants to find stone. He is worried Petrie will leave with his uncle.
Cera- does not want to find stone. She feels like Petrie chose his uncle over them and should leave with him.
Petrie- feels like his friends have turned on his hero and himself.
Rest of the Great Valley- Hate the stone and Pterano.
Ducky is the anti-Pterano. Pterano’s main flaw is he does not take responsibility for his actions due to his arrogance. Ducky realizes she has hurt Petrie and goes to apologize. On the way she overhears the fliers. We get our fist look that Pterano is likely the most good of them. Sierra is just mad that they are not already going. Pterano says leaving early will make everyone else think they are up to no good, which Rinkus considers them to be. Since it can get confusing I will remind you that Sierra is the brown one and Rinkus is the pink one. Pterano insists the others just never knew his greatness. He also says he will use the stone to take over The Great Valley. If you have that power and a desire to rule why not.
Sierra is actually a good hench flyer, and he catches Ducky spying. Thus the fliers leave early with Ducky as hostage. Not known for their intelligence the other dinosaurs except Littlefoot and Petrie think it is a sharptooth attack. Who is on guard duty? Littlefoot tells Petrie who turns on his friend and for a little while it looks like he will poke his eyes out until his mom tells him it is Pterano taking Ducky. After briefly showing Petrie crying (first time in the franchise) he chases his uncle. It was a great move to focus on heroes failing you after a film on finding heroes. It really helps to make this a sad scene. In a very good part for Pterano Rinkus knocks Petrie out of the air (after he gets the hostage situation details), and Pterano whips him for being violent and of course doubting Pterano’s non-violent behavior. I think this was the first time I heard the word, “violence.”
Back at the same meeting place as 8 Ducky’s mom wants them to go save her. Petrie’s mom is looking on the bright side saying her brother will make sure no harm comes to Ducky. Mr. Threehorn is heavily looking on the dark side. It also becomes apparent based on information here and earlier that about every grown-up knew Pterano was talking to the children except Mr. Threehorn, a smart call from Grandpa I assume. Grandpa also concludes he would never have left for the stone if Petrie could not get him the important information, thus they should have told them about why Pterano left the herd.
The flashback scene is very good. It has confused a few fans over whether the sharptooth attack is just them imagining it or real. Considering Pterano is implied to have said what happened, and he had his own flashback and memory of it. For one they gave the first usage of velociraptors since 3. Tavera did a good job scoring it. It also gives quite the backstory for why even Grandpa hates Pterano. It is also important with how Petrie defends Pterano the whole time. He finally concedes about his uncle’s evilness when it is pointed out he could never accept the blame.
With the grown-ups too busy arguing Spike heads after Ducky (he will show this type of initiative again in 14). The rainbow faces watch approvingly. At the same time the fliers land… Well crash. Ducky gets away, probably knowing Pterano does not want her harmed making the consequences much less, but she falls down a hole. Pterano is sad about someone he was in charge of dying, but Sierra mock comforts him by saying how he should be used those he is in charge of dying. The rest of the gang gets to the vines, which they have to cross over. In the film’s first real flaw Cera says she is always at the back, and everyone else backs her up. In 6 Littlefoot and Spike were at the back. Same in 5. In 4 Ducky was in the back. Spike and Ducky in 3. In 12 Littlefoot. I think Cera is always in the front. In short they get across and by a big coincidence find Ducky.
After Ducky defends Pterano we get to song number two, “Good Inside.” It is okay, but dull. It does confirm that Littlefoot is pink, but I have realized it really affected my morals. When I heard Lance Armstrong was guilty of duping I did not care. I hear about King David’s sins, and I think he was still a man after God’s own heart. I think it might be because of this movie that I still see heroes as heroes, rather than sinners. After the song the fliers again grab Ducky, but she gets away by biting Sierra. I can not blame her for waiting since doing it earlier would put her over a mountain and death. It results in a rather exciting chase scene partly due to Littlefoot really getting into the trash talking to distract Rinkus and Sierra and also due to them grabbing Pterano making it very clear that he is not really in charge. Littlefoot outsmarting them is important to his arc with the rainbow faces. Petrie notices and is surprised Pterano stays with them. Pterano is so arrogant he assumes a small lecture will put them back in place. It also uses “If We Hold On Together” which makes every scene better.
In a huge storm the fliers crash again (like last time it is played for both drama and comedy). Pterano is hoping the children are okay, but Sierra talks about how he will feed them to sharpteeth, which hits a real sore spot for Pterano he banishes them from him finally and sings “Very Important Creature.” When I was first a film nerd I thought villain songs were too one dimensional. This changed my mind. It makes Pterano comes off as more arrogant and hateable, more pitiful and rootable, smarter and dumber. It is such a wonderful mix of thoughts coming to me. Too add to the greatness Michael York sings it really well, Sierra trying to kill him and Rinkus slowly agreeing is funny like when Rinkus says “let him lead us to the stone.” Wait, what? The pink villain is the most evil. This is a wonderful twist I did not see coming even sierra’s puns are now funny and scary. They even regain Pterano’s trust by simply sucking up to him as they literally plot behind his back.
At the same time our heroes find the bottom of the mountain with the stone. They go to sleep an wake up to find a huge pile of food, and they then see a rainbow face. They chase him with music from An American Tail 4 playing. He is stopped by the female. She is mad he helped them, but since they are aware the rainbow faces are there they help them get to the top with gas pressure, and Littlefoot is even able to tell what they are planning. When they are asked questions about how they know it they use a new catch phrase, “that would be telling.” After they get up Cera saves Petrie from a rock to resolve their arc that we were no longer remembering. In its defense it takes up little time, and someone would have been mad if it was unresolved.
They find the stone using its marks and how the dirt is facing a direction, but the fliers arrive. Pterano goes to get the power, and I guess the fliers are thinking if something bad happens he will die, but I would still suggest turning on him now. Pterano messes with the stone, and the scene is dramatic enough to make me wonder if something will happen. Nothing happens which is not disappointed, due to how heart broken Pterano is and I care about Pterano. Rinkus and Sierra become more threatening and then more comical, as they hit the comet with rocks like mad fliers. “You no need to fix, just not break.” Petrie comforts Pterano by saying they the paradise he wants to make already exists, but the volcano starts to erupt. The shaking makes Duck fall of a cliff, and I guess Petrie is too preoccupied in getting his uncle pardoned to notice. Fortunately Pterano saves her (it was spoiled on the back cover of the box). Petrie’s mom arrives to help save everyone else, as “If we Hold on Together” plays , and the main villains are nearly killed by the explosion. Back in the Great Valley Mr. Threehorn who earlier took responsibility for making the group decide too slow so the children left, and Pterano have finally learned to take responsibility. Since he saved Ducky his punishment is reduced from life banishment to banishment for five cold times (three have been verified to pass as of 14). Petrie is the most disappointed, but Pterano then truly acts like the loving uncle he is even at his worst. He vows to come back as a valuable member after his punishment is finished, but Mr. Threehorn hurries up his banishment by chasing him away. Petrie sadly waves as he leaves. It is a very good scene. Afterwards Littlefoot runs into the rainbow faces. They basically reveal that the Stone was just a test for how he would react and praise his intelligence from asking questions. No wonder I value people who question life so much. They then reprise “Beyond the Mysterious Beyond” (also reprised with just instruments in the credits). Then a tractor beam takes them and Littlefoot sees a spaceship leave. I love this idea. It even is better than putting magic in the series.
I love this movie. Pterano is wonderful. Littlefoot and Petrie have such great stories. This has terrific songs. Ducky, Cera, and Spike all have really good parts giving this film the best job of using all five of all fourteen movies. The scary parts are good, the sad parts are sad. As an adult this is the best of the sequels.
The new climax ranking is 10, 7, 14, 11, 12, 8, 9, 13
The best songs are now 1. Very Important Creature (7) 2. Beyond the Mysterious Beyond (7) 3. Bestest friends (10) 24 “The Lesson (8) 5. “Family (8) 6. Adventuring (10). 7. flip, Flap, Fly (12). 8. How do You Know (13). 9. Chanson D’ Ennui (9). 10. “Things Change (12).
The new running time order is 10 (85 minutes), 14 (82 minutes) 12/11 (81 minutes each), 13 (76 minutes), 9/8/7 (75 minutes each)
The new film rankings are 7, 10, 8, 14, 12, 11, 9, 13. 7 is now number one, and it is not close.