At nighttime Cera wakes up to hear Sharptooth. Eventually everyone is up but Littlefoot, but he comes around later while insisting there is no sharptooth.
The shot of a crushed tree star is surprisingly long. I think that it symbolizes the need to go on without material possessions. Ironically it is just a symbol if not eaten. As a symbol of Littlefoot’s mother it also is a call back to Sharptooth killing her. I heard that in the deleted scenes he ate her body. Littlefoot makes up for his past mistake by getting Spike through a hole and directing theme in that direction in the first place, which Sharptooth got stuck on. That does not stop Cera from calling it his fault, but Littlefoot sees a rock that looks like a longneck (referenced in 5 and 13), which he knows is part of the way. They then continue on with triumphant music playing, and the animation makes it obvious this is a very physically tough journey through tough terrain. In one notable shot Littlefoot makes himself a dinosaur bridge, which Spike, Ducky, and Petrie take, but Cera goes around through a tougher path. Music is played at the top as if they are there only to find a little wasteland. Not knowing that The Great Valley is literally on top of the other group of rocks Cera leaves. “I am taking the easy way for once.” Ironically she just took an unnecessarily tough path, and she did it at the gorge to not follow Littlefoot. She is going out of her way to not take the best path, but she normally does go with Littlefoot. The problem is she now wants to go the wrong way due to its ease. Based on later evidence she probably does think it goes to The Great Valley. She eventually insults Littlefoot (not new, and he does not care) and his mother. That sets up a fight, where Spike humorously tries to hide (comic relief is appreciated here). Littlefoot and Cera’s fight goes back and forth until Littlefoot tries to leave, and Cera sucker slams him. Ducky, Spike, and Petrie also decide to go the easy way. Petrie tries to get Littlefoot to go with them, but Littlefoot stays with the path.
According to the lost footage after this Littlefoot went over the rocks and found The Great Valley. After playing in a water fall he goes back to save his friends. I heard he goes back due to hearing his mother’s voice (knowing it is what she would want). I preferred the idea that when he got there he realized he had to go back. It makes slightly more sense in the narration, but the change of order keeps a clear finish. It does cost a villainous motivation (more on that later), but that is overall not needed. What it does cost is a very happy scene amidst a very low point, but I could certainly handle all this darkness until the more funny parts later.
Cera has lead them to a place resembling Hell. She does not notice Spike and Ducky falling behind. Then she does not notice Petrie falling in a tar pit. After crying for help Littlefoot rushes over and saves Ducky and Spike they then try to save Petrie with a dinosaur ladder. They get him out, but Ducky falls in. While trying to save her they all fall in leaving it up to Cera. Except Cera is being chased by the boneheads. Without an introduction they seem to be demons from Hell that torture their victims. They corner Cera quickly until…
Augh! A strange creature scares them away. Cera screams for help until Ducky reveals it is them. Apparently the tar spit them out,,\ like I heard it does in real life (I never tested it). The rest get a huge laugh at Cera, especially as she tries to look brave but keeps tripping. She is too proud to admit her error and leaves. The rest find Sharptooth and decide to finish him off. In the deleted scenes Sharptooth is blocking The Great Valley’s entrance. Here the group just decides to kill him, but he is clearly blocking their path and has been a huge obstacle. Time to eliminate the obstacle. We are told Littlefoot’s plan meaning it will fail. Littlefoot and Spike will push a huge rock on his head and into the deep pond. Petrie gives a signal (as he is light enough presumably). That leaves Ducky as bait, which some viewers have criticized Littlefoot for. I always felt she was the logical choice due to her role involving swimming. Sharptooth sees her coming and gets behind her, but she slips underneath him.
Sharptooth quickly notices them and hits the rocks hard knocking Petrie off, but his breath lets him finally fly (referenced in 12). For some people their iconic moment seeing someone learn to fly is Superman. For others it is Peter Pan. For me it has always been Petrie. Petrie then gets Sharptooth’s attention off Ducky by pecking him, but he again jumps four times his own height by jumping right on the boulder trying to bite Littefoot and Spike.
Petrie stops him by going for his good eye.
This puts Sharptooth on the defense long ugh for Cera to show up and help push the rock with Sharptooth on it into the hole. Some have complained that all reptiles can swim meaning Sharptooth should be fine. My defense for the film is that a huge rock fell and hit him on the head knocking him unconscious. The rock stayed on top of him to drown him. It is also possible that he would have floated back to the top, but he would be unconscious long enough for the gang to get to The Great Valley.
After a fake death with Petrie that still makes me cry Littlefoot is still despairing presumably due to thinking The Great Valley is still far away until he follows a cloud like how the Israelites followed a cloud through the desert that lead to a land flowing with milk and honey. It leads to The Great Valley. After one movie of build up and thirteen of results I am always filled with tears of joy when watching this scene. The gang goes in, as the narrator tells of how wondrous it is. They reunite with their families. Ducky’s family adopts Spike. Cera’s dad is being affectionate. Petrie literally makes enough wind to blow his siblings away and lift his mom. It has earlier been implied that they were near the extinction, but the narrator then squashes the last of the fridge horror by revealing that for many generations their descendants told the story meaning it is nowhere near the extinction. We then get a 40 second clip show that gives just the right closure by reminding of the good moments in this past hour instead of disappointment that it is over. It ends with “If We Hold on Together.” The song is a tear jerker before it even gives a single lyric, and it emphasizes continuing on amidst adversity. I love it.
This is the greatest animated film of all time. Littlefoot is a terrific protagonist. He is a not-so-stoic who leads out of necessity of being the only one determined enough to make it. Cera is an anti-hero I really root for when she does good and root against when she does evil. Petrie has an incredible arc finding his bravery. Spike does not have much hidden intelligence except the part about being of the bottom of the tar monster. Ducky is the most moral character except, she is not good at thinking for herself.
Arguably the speciesism part got dropped in mention, but that is because it shows how it ends, with no one mentioning or thinking about it because they no longer see their differences as bad. Ducks the only one who was not taught it, and she lead actually forming the herd. It is also why they are happy to adopt Spike.
Some have said The Great Valley is Heaven instead of salvation in symbolism. That is false due to a simple detail, Littlefoot’s mom is not there.
After the song some more music is playing that is used in the sequels and the series trailer. We then get to a logo for the man, the myth, the legend.
Don Bluth. Then it is the Amblin logo ending another wonderful film, as it usually does.
The new running time order is 10 (85 minutes), 14 (82 minutes) 12/11 (81 minutes each), 6 (77 minutes) 13 (76 minutes), 9/8/7 (75 minutes each), 5/4/2 (74 minutes each), 3 (71 minutes), and finally 1 (69 minutes).
The new film rankings are 1, 5, 7, 3, 2, 6, 10, 8, 14, 4, 12, 11, 9, 13.