Tag Archives: Cera

The Land Before Time Part 1

Sometimes it says “The Adventure that Started it all.”  Other ones still say “From the Creators of An American Tail.”  The box itself shows the dark backgrounds and Sharptooth watching the main characters.  It is hard to pinpoint the trailers due to the different rereleases, and my copy is from 1997 instead of 1988.  My copy has the series commercial used in 6.  It helped make me view this as a very good dark prequel when I was the target audience for the sequels.  Now I view it as the greatest animated film of all time, and I need to capture both views.

It has a different Universal Logo, and it seems to be of a galaxy.

T6.png     Unlike the others where I could barely find any behind the scenes details I could find plenty here.  If I do not say where I got something assume it came from http://www.cataroo.com/DBland.html.  According to Ani Mat they  made the opening while still finishing the story, so they animated a generic opening for a dinosaur film.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIVcL9KPCvQ around the 2:50 mark).  He implied it was the part with the narration and the dinosaurs moving, but that has plenty to do with the movie.  I suspect it was the underwater scene.

T9.png   The underwater opening is incredibly beautiful.  It even foreshadows four with the sea turtles.  It waits a while to show the title, and the bubbles keep revealing the credits.  It is directed by Don Bluth himself with Spielberg and George Lucas as producers.  James Horner is the composer.  The writers of An American Tail are back.  I think this opening can be accused of not being useful to the film, but even if it is the 69 minute running time does not need to be shortened.  It also shows a little swimming creature in constant danger foreshadowing how dark this film will get, thus it helps the mood.

After the great opening it continues with our narrator, Pat Hingle.  He gives us our narration to some more beautiful and ironically dead scenery.  The plants are dying off (It is implied to be near the dinosaurs’ extinction, but that is revealed to be false at the end).  The dinosaurs appear to rule the Earth, but in truth they are ruled by the leaf.  They are following the setting sun (I am in the group that thinks the movie is filled with religious symbolism).  I do consider this to be a one true, hard path to life, while a broad road leads to death.  The Great Valley does not represent Heaven, but salvation.  Even the original does not consider it to be Heaven.  As a kid I knew it was made first but I did love that the original was about accomplishing a goal, and the sequels never did anything to reduce the happiness of the ending except make it more happy while still having plenty of plot.

T10.png          The leaf eaters only stopped to hatch.  Ducky I the first one shown being born.  I noticed at a young age along with many fans that Cera claimed to be the oldest in 5, but I always assumed they were just guessing their exact ages and Cera would arrogantly claim to be the oldest.  Ducky has a birth that highlights her being overly trusting by putting her head in a snapping turtle like thing’s mouth.  It highlights her innocence.  Cera’s birth (referenced in 12) highlights her recklessness and fear that she seemingly has fear until a thunderbolt horrifies her (referenced in 2).  Throughout the series Cera is actually very scared, and it is part of her character as a not so fearless character.  As an egg Littlefoot is nearly taken by an egg stealer and he rolls everywhere.

This is such an adorable scene.  It also has a few references to Bambi.  I do like how it shows Littlefoot being scared of his mother and her looking creepy to capture that babies are born scared and unaware of mother.  It then stays such an adorable scene as he falls asleep on his mother.  I am crying already.

Time to talk about the deleted scenes.  Bluth wanted a darker film, while Spielberg and Lucas wanted it to be lighter.  One debated area was keeping his mother’s death and the character in the film.  Bluth won this case, which was the most important.  He had to use a psychologist and test cases t win it.  He also won with the help that it would require too much exposition without her death.  I know an early plan was for them to journey to a wise older dinosaur instead of

The Great Valley, so I think that wise older dinosaur would have replaced Littlefoot’s mom.  Spielberg did succeed in cutting ten minutes of footage, which helped break up the duo of Don Bluth and Steven Spielberg.

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In the next scene Littlefoot is talking.  The lack of food is evident especially as Littlefoot tries to eat a stick and the lack of leaves despite the surplus of trees.  Littlefoot’s mother teaches him the path to The Great Valley.  Littlefoot questions its existence since no one they know has ever been there (a theme brought up in 7 as well).  As a seventh grader an above I always loved this symbolism about questioning salvation.  As a younger viewer I did not care about the question, but the answer that it is believed in a heart not in a head.  Littlefoot decides he will understand later.

She then finds a treestar, and she gives it to Littlefoot.  It becomes a symbol of her love at first, but it then changes to a symbol to material possessions and life.  Littlefoot then hears a Threehorn playing, and he is excited about having a potential playmate.  He sees Cera nearly eat an insect (if Hungary enough a Triceratops would eat meat).  She gets sprayed by something and Littlefoot laughs.  This draws Cera in who playfully wants to charge him, and Littlefoot seems to love the idea too.  This is mostly comedic and some children having fun until Mr. Threehorn jumps between and demands Littlefoot leaves.  He then tells is daughter “Come Cera.  Threehorns never play with Longnecks.”  Cera then repeats him.  We already had a man vs. nature plot and now a man vs. society plot, racism/ speciesism.  Cera has been taught it by her dad, and she copies him.  Littlefoot’s mom explains it and she obviously accepts it as life.  Littlefoot for a brief time does show some specieism (It does a wonderful job standing in for racisim in my opinion) later, by mixing a quote form his mom and Mr. Threehorn, but it is very brief and only shown once compared to the rest of the movie.  Some say Littlefoot’s mother taught it to him, but she merely explained it, and I think it going wrong helps make her seem like a real parent.

Contrary to what the above picture says this is not Disney.  Littlefoot follows a frog, and he runs into Cera.  They play a bit until…

Sharptooth shows up.  The original plan was for a more dramatic entrance that would be slower, while hear he only has a little build up.  I actually really like that.  I cannot compare it to the original plan, but instead of building him up like usual, he gets to be shown as menacing out of nowhere like real predators.  He chases Littlefoot and Cera through a briar patch.

Littlefoot tells Cera to go one way, but she goes a different way, and Littlefoot goes after her trying to get her to go his way.  Cera’s way is big enough for Sharptooth to follow.  Littlefoot accidently gets a thorn stuck in his eye, and I can hear Sharptooth’s pain.  He is now motivated by revenge.  This foreshadows some of Littlefoot and Cera’s future problems.  Sharptooth gets in front of them, but mother comes to face him.

Unlike most of the sequels’ fights this is very fast paced.  Off note include Sharptooth getting warmed up by destroying a large rock nearly his size, and Littlefoot’s mother using her head as bait to hit him with her tail like Grandpa Longneck often did.  I guess he taught her that.

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He then jumps four times his height to get on her back and rip off flesh.  I am already getting really sad, while really enjoying the action.  She successfully knocks him away.

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You can see the bloodless carnage that he presumably drank out of her.  It looks good then until a huge earthquake comes and Sharptooth gets Littlefoot and Cera on his foot, and they all start falling into a huge cliff.  Littlefoot’s mother saves them, while Sharptooth presumably falls to his death.  It then shows many dinosaurs and herds perishing in the earthquake.  Cera and Littlefoot are separated form their healthy parents and grandparents.

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This next scene is sad no matter how many times I watch it.  With the exception of Splinter’s death in the episode “Same as it Never was” I am never sad at off screen deaths, and to my tears’ misery she dies on screen.  We do not even know she is dead until she is no longer talking.  James Horner has done it.  His soundtrack is the greatest ever.  It can be so happy, so sad, and so exciting.  She dies trying to keep her son alive by reminding him about how to find The Great Valley.  I do hold on to the belief that this is Christian symbolism.  I will not call it an allegory since I do not think the minor characters have important symbolic roles, but mother is Jesus.  She is the sacrifice to keep everyone else alive when they wondered off the path.

Littlefoot is then shown going through grief, denial, anger, sadness, and acceptance.  I do not know about bargaining so presumably off screen.  He runs into our narrator, Rooter.  I neglected this in my review of 10, but a fan theory is Rooter told Bron about his wife’s death.  Littlefoot is doing a common Bluth trope, falling to symbolize a loss of sanity.  He is blaming himself for wandering too far from home, Sharptooth for killing her, and his mother for not taking care of herself better.  In a scene referenced in 2 and 4 Rooter explains the circle of life.  Everyone eventually dies, but it does not actually end.  As long as someone remembers what they taught and supported.  It takes a few scenes, but it does start to sink in with Littlefoot.  We then get very much needed very cute comic relief with some pterodactyls.  It also shows that life goes on amidst tragedy.  In another part he starts to hear his mother’s voice through the tree star.  Littlefoot certainly considers it to represent his mother.

T11.png       I consider the following shadow sequence to be the movie’s saddest part.  He thinks he saw his shadow as mother.  It is so obviously not, and I am crying just thinking about it.  Not even Babe or Gettysburg has a scene like that.  After Littlefoot finally accepts that his mother is dead, and he has to live by finding The Great Valley so she will not be completely gone.  This is still how I cope with loss.

Littlefoot is someone who stays devoted to Christianity in the bad times.  Some have called Cera temptation, but I consider her to be a person who makes problems, but needs to be saved.  She is not an obstacle by design but due to her flaws she must overcome.  Instead of joining Littlefoot she remembers he dad’s words about being speciesist and tries to get over the great chasm.  Littlefoot then is obviously hurt, and he does not want to join a swimmer,  until her innocent happiness wins him over.  Ducky is the overly innocent member trying to find out if Littlefoot or Cera knows the right way.  They then meet Petrie (he was most likely left behind due to not knowing how to fly).  Petrie’s actor, Will Ryan, is the only main actor to be an adult.  If the other actors could not pull it off, then his role would have been greatly increased, but Judith Barsi exceeded expectations and got many of his lines.  Petrie is a coward, but right away his sense of bravery is shown by him volunteering to be a guard and that he successfully climbed a tree, thus he at least is not consumed by fear.

Cera accidently wakes up Sharptooth and flees in huge fear into the others.  She makes up a story about fighting him off, which Cera an Petrie believe.  My one problem with this movie is Littlefoot clearly believes Sharptooth is the only one even though the narrator earlier used the plural term.  In the meantime Ducky finds Spike, a big eater who is too young to think much.

T12.png         In a deleted scene Cera wants them to leave Spike for slowing them down, but Ducky uses berries to keep him going.  Unlike the herds in the opening they have multiple species.  The next scene has simple parts like Littlefoot using water to find food, and Ducky and Petrie becoming friends.  Confusingly Cera claims finding the food.  Littlefoot is mad, and then some longnecks come in and eat it all.  I eventually realized that Cera’s bragging got the attention of them, and they rushed in to eat everything.  I am pretty sure that it was before the deleted scene with other herds.  In another part of the deleted scene they met two types of dinosaurs.  One had water, and one had food.  They refused to share due to their differences, and it is presumed they will both die.  Back in the trees the group minus Cera make a dinosaur ladder, and they get Petrie high enough to get a lo of food down and fall with style down.  He hoped he flew down, but no one can honestly say yes.  Cera refuses to join until Littlefoot tricks her into thinking she got some down herself, but it mostly increases her ego (brag bone).

Cera and Littlefoot sleep in different areas, and the others pick who o join.  Eventually even Cera goes to Littlefoot.

 

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DTV Wonders: The Land Before Time IV Journey Through the Mists.

The last film of The Roy Allen Smith Era, and the last one to be directed by him.  It is written by Dev Ross.  Besides The Wisdom of Friends (13) it is the only one without Littlefoot on the mid cover, which has Cera’s tail.  That was always odd to see.  Also Warren Taylor instead of Jay Bixsen is the editor.  Icky has a pair of binoculars on the front cover above, which foreshadows his song.  Most critics hated this, but the target audience loved it.

The commercial to Flipper brings back memories, as my sister loved it, but it feels nothing like the film.  I cannot say the commercial to this film, which is next, is good.  The “We Sing Dom” commercial is also poor.  The most interesting part of the trailer is they put the Universal Cartoon Studios logo before instead of after the film.

Unlike the others it right away reveals the title.  Based off this and the poor animation I think it was made really quickly.  The opening does have some good foreshadowing when a whale opens his mouth to resemble a crocodile.

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It is also impressive when he jumps out of the water.  We also get to see some egg stealers (presumably Ozzy and Strut) included) running from a sharptooth resembling Chomper’s dad (a popular misconception is there is no land sharptooth this film.  Only 9 as that distinction).  I guess they ran back to the herd, so they would only have to outrun their slowest herd mate.  Back in The Great Valley Cera knocks food off a tree and laughs by saying “Hee.”  I know that with Candace Hutson as her actress she did that a few times, but she does it five times in this film.  I surprisingly found it to be a cute laugh that sounded like it came from a kid.  Littlefoot chases a Drangonfly and sees a herd of Longnecks coming in.  He and his grandparents go to greet them, but Grandpa has trouble getting there.

The  grown-ups meet the herd.  Mr. Threhorn is really quiet after getting nearly the entire valley killed last movie.  Besides 13 this is the only one where he never talks.  The longnecks are lead by “Old One.”  She is called wise, which Littlefoot doubts.  She uses fear tactics to get others to join her migratory herd.  When she asks about The Great Valley they say it is the same as usual.  I guess a fire, drought, and famine in the last movie is normal.  Further proof this is not Heaven.  She then starts with the fear tactics by going on about how everywhere is changing for the worst and only Longneck safety in numbers can survive.  I would consider safety to be who can eat all the food before anyone else and ignore them, but it is convincing Grandma and Grandpa.  I do like how a few longnecks next film look like her herd implying a few got smart and stayed in The Great Valley.

Littlefoot and his friends play catch Cera where he meets Allie (no romantic interest, but it makes me wonder if the producers actually shipped Littlefoot and Cera like a few fans do).  Allie likes Littlefoot and is scared of the others due to them being different.  It is a good call back to the first one, and it fits the moral that all types of people are needed.  Littlefoot decides to play with Allie instead of his older friends due to her funny faces.  None are actually funny, so I presume he really just wants to make The Valley’s guests happy.  Seeing that makes Cera declare Littlefoot to no longer be there friend.  In a good move the others vocally disagree, and it is obvious Cera does not mean it.

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Grandpa gets deathly sick.  The only way to potentially save him is to for him to eat the nightflowers, which are where the migrators (not called “far-walkers” or “wanderers”for some reason) are from.  Grandma gasps for the second time this film, and is discouraged when no one will help her get it.  Littlefoot is determined to get it.  Grandpa makes him promise to leave with the migrators with Grandma if he dies, which I find to be faulty logic, but The Old One really got into his head with her fear tactics.  I am really glad she has a small role.

Grandma sing the first song of the film and her only singing role in the franchise, “Grandma’s Lullaby.  Leslie Bricusse wrote the songs instead of Amanda McBroom and Michele Brourman like all the others so far , and she did very well.  The song says the words “circle of Life” which got one of the worst internet fandoms angry, The Lion King internet fans.  They are overly paranoid everything is ripping them off.  Here is why it is not a rip-off that anyone should be able to see right away.  The Circle of Life was also mentioned in the first film, which came out six years before The Lion King, which turns the argument around using their overly simple logic.  Now it means The Lion King ripped off The Land Before Time, and there are plenty of other similarities before them.  This film is doing what sequels are supposed to do and remind the viewers of the original.  Some further proof the are not hoping to simply cash in on its success is the second film came out the same year as The Lion King.  It also mentioned the circle of life.  Both arguments still fall apart due to a major detail, both have entirely different definitions.  The Lion King uses a definition that connects all life to a food chain.  The Land Before Time and its sequels have a different definition.  It uses a circle to connect all parts of life and we all have to die at one point.  The final point is that “The Circle of Life” is not original to either film by a longshot.

The song itself has some very nice visuals, and it does not shy away from the darkness it implies.  I really like it.

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Littlefoot sneaks off to find the night flower.  He first enlists Allie since she knows the way,  but she convinces him it will be faster to bring no one else.  I am starting to think Cera has a point.  Grandma is not happy.  Ducky volunteers to go get Littlefoot, but Grandma makes them promise not to presumably knowing it is all she can do to keep them in the valley.  There is actually an important landmark coming up when they leave.  This is the first time since the original a majority of the film takes place in The Mysterious Beyond.  Allie and Littlefoot arrive at he best part of the film, the cave.

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An earthquake (another callback) sepearates them.  Allie leaves to get help being on the right side for that.  Littlfoot meats a turtle who looks very similar to the ones he saw in 9 and in the opening to the original.  I love that part.  The turtle is named Archie, and he helps Littlefoot despite pulling a muscle.  Allie gets the others, as they agree after Spike decides to help her (good job Spike), but Cera stays back not trusting Allie.  It is obvious she will come later.

We are then introduced to the villains, who had a few quick glimpses earlier.  A crocodile named Dill and a sharp Beak named Icky.  I expected to heavily criticize them, but in the cave Icky is plenty intimidating and they are actually really funny.  They even argue like an old married couple wile singing “Who Needs you.”  As a 13 year old I thought this song was hilarious.  My sisters still love it.  I still like it.  One real problem though is a giant prehistoric crocodile is not as cool as a theropod.  They eventually find Littlefoot and Archie and chase them down.  With the rest only Spike is getting any rocks moved until Cera shows up and literally destroys rocks and one falls on Dill’s head knocking him out and taking out Icky too. Allie is the least useful.  The rock scene in 3 is really paying off.

Archie knows the way out and shows it as “If We Hold on Together” Plays.  It is very fitting for Archie’s speech about staying together.  I know I glanced over the cave scene rather quickly to save time, but it is a very good highlight, and I love it.

We are introduced to The Land Of Mists in a very similar way to The Great Valley, but it is much darker like it is evil.  They go to look for the nightflower.  Cera gets really scared (she has a lot of cowardice in her) by a serpent.  She should have done what Spike did, put Littlefoot’s tail in his mouth to not get lost.  Some boneheads start slamming into each other.  The egg stealers from earlier all run into the river and are presumably eaten.  Surprisingly they forget about Cera to find…

Tickles the Mammal

It is a fine scene except forgetting about Cera.  They then find Cera making everything look good again.  She gives another “Hee,” but she falls into the river due to the rocks falling.  Ducky throws her a vine.  Oddly Cera sees Dill and Icky coming to get her and does not swim to the rocks to climb up.  Icky instead of feasting on egg stealers cuts the vine.  They go to eat Cera instead of the horde of egg stealers due to their bad breath I guess.  Here is when Dill’s lack of threat hurts the film.  Dill gets stuck in a tree leaving the less threatening villain around.  Allie goes down to save Cera, which works and they finally like each other as “If We Hold on Together” plays.  It also contrasts the villains arguing.  Our final song “All Sorts” is the basic moral, and not much else.  It does give the villains another purpose, as they are too busy fighting over each others’ strengths and weaknesses instead of using them to help.  It does have a nice touch when Cera sings with Allie and Littlefoot even though Candace Hutson’s singing voice is not as good as Andi McCaffee’ singing voice.

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Look to the left side of the picture and similar to Icky’s binoculars there is a microphone on a pole near them.

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I think I know why I like Dill and Icky.  I am so used to them being portrayed as terrifying villains it is nice to see them being the main source of comedy.  The rest of the group finds the nightflower, but Dill and Icky literally just bump into them.  Icky captures Petrie, but Tickles gets him to bite Dill’s tail instead.  This turns Dill on Icky until they hear Cera say “Hee.”  Realizing where they are they follow them over a bridge where Ducky goes to retrieve a flower by half grabbing, pulling back, and then fully grabbing.  Icky captures Ducky.  Petrie finally makes himself useful by trying to safe her and nearly choking her.   Ducky falls unconscious, and she is about to be eaten by Dill (how did she get down there and why not get the others).  She is woken up by Spike talking.  I actually remember the first time hearing this despite the film coming out the year I was born.  I always thought it was a logical progression that he would talk eventually, and that is a very memorable part.  It wakes Ducky up and with Petrie and Spike’s help Dill instead grabs Icky with her mouth.   When she lets Icky out they finally leave.  They say goodbye to Tickles.  They wonder if they will all meet again someday.  Based on what the Evolutionist narrator says Tickles descendants will kill yours so no.

The rest get back and save Grandpa.  He is good, Cera gives one final “Hee.”  Five total this film.  The narrator says Allie will return not mentioning it is for a sucky episode of the TV Series.

When I was the target audience I never really cared about this one.  As an adult it depends on the year, but I always love Archie.  It has good foreshadowing songs, and humor, but it struggles in animation and mood.  Like 6 it depends on the year how much I enjoy it.

The new climax ranking is 5, 6,10, 7, 14, 4, 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) 4. Always There (5) 5. Grandma’s Lullaby (4) 6. Big Water (5) 7. “The Lesson (8) 8. “Family (8) 9. Adventuring (10).  10. flip, Flap, Fly (12).  11. How do You Know (13). 12. “On You’re Own” (6) 13. Who Needs you (4) 14. Chanson D’ Ennui (9).

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 (74 minutes each)

The new film rankings are 5, 7, 6, 10, 8, 14, 4, 12, 11, 9, 13.

DTV Wonders: The Land Before Time 10 The Great Longneck Migration

This is one of the most remembered films in the series, and it I often considered the best.

The  Beethoven’s 5th commercial is better than the film.  I like the other trailers except for Sinibad.  It is a fine film, but the trailer is a reason why it bombed terribly.

What is a major difference between Charles Grosvenor and Roy Allen Smith, the only two directors to do more than one film in the franchise?  Grosvenor is better at coming up with plots, while Smith is better at developing them.  The tenth film had on paper and screen the best plot of at least the sequels and maybe even the original.  It had a big plot that took full advantage of being so late in a series, and it made many right moves with red herrings, songs, twists, and a mystery making it on paper by leaps and bounds the best sequel.  There is one problem I cannot find out, and hopefully I will figure out why I do not consider it to be the best.

Of notable significance is this ends the full CG trilogy, which let the internal conflict come from the internal instead of the other way around.  It also is the first film to use no music composed by James Horner.  The usual list of creators is present.

I love this opening with the lava and a sharptooth fighting a longneck foreshadowing the climax.  It then has Littlefoot having a dream where there is less gravity.  Alec Medlock is now voicing him.  Going in reverse order this is normal, but in normal order this is important since Thomas Dekker was involved in his voice for a record five movies.  Normally scenes like this leave it as a small twist, and I was happy the writers did something different.  It then get a little odd as the sun literally falls, and it is revealed Grandma and Grandpa are having a similar dream.  It is never explained why all longnecks have this dream, but it seems to be part of intuition and a mystery that the viewers need to solve.  I think it is instinct, which further shows how bad The Land Before Time XIII The Wisdom of Friends (13) is.

The next scene is surprisingly poor.  It is the group playing tag, and eventually Littlefoot is too caught up in the sun, which results in him telling them about his dream (“Sleep Story”).  Ducky and Petrie’s dreams are too generic to species instead of personality, but Petrie’s could be interpreted as getting braver.  Cera calls them all dumb prompting Littlefoot to get some complicated revenge hurting her “brag bone.”  After another night in a well done slow scene Grandpa tells Littlefoot they will be going on a journey, and this is the first time that a grown up suggested the journey.

It leads to our first song, “Adventuring.”  I love it, and it is the new top song.  It promises adventure, heroism, Cera’s cynicism compared to everyone else’s optimism is funny.  It gives Mo a cameo (my brother was excited to see that in the trailer).  It also involves very fast editing to give an action scene feeling, and at the end it asks to what will be an important part of the movie, Littlefoot’s friends wanting to come too.

After that when Littlefoot leaves it is strangely shown that he is sad when he was earlier happy.  Maybe “Adventuring” does have a problem about not being too relevant to the story.  This is actually the first scene that is better on the rewatch where the tune to “Bestest Friends” is played when Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike are missing him.  The Longnecks are then in the desert part of the Mysterious Beyond, and then the rainforest later.  Over there they meet Sue.  I spent a bit of time wondering what Sue’ seemingly meaningless role is until I realized why it works.  She is a red herring main guest character.  It makes the real guest star even more of a shocker later.

 

 

Then comes Cera’s nightmare, the funnies part of the franchise.  I think this is the last appearance of the brown stegosaurus.  It always gives a really good laugh and it seems to show Cera just being arrogant, but also that she fears missing out on important adventures, and most importantly that she knows something incredibly important is about to happen.  The little part with Mr. Threehorn cheering for Littlefoot the loudest is very fitting in chronological order.  He had been warming up to him since at least The Big Freeze (8) and maybe even The Stone of Cold Fire (7).  With that Cera rounds up the rest of the group to follow Littlefoot.  It shows how much Cera has developed that she is not leading them to certain death.  Based on earlier sequels and the most recent Spike would be in charge, but consider it middle installment weirdness.  After some atmosphere is shown with the Longnecks to again praise the film the rest of the group follow their footmarks to find the swamp with a prehistoric crocodile.  It is a very good action scene except for too much dumb luck saving the group and the crocodile deeming Petrie a better meal than Cera.  I guess fliers taste wonderful compared to threehorns.

I think the reference is unintentional

 

After escaping the first gray sharptooth in the franchise that is not a velociraptor (still a first to make it stick out), and with how dumb it was fortunately it will not be important to a serious climax later.   They meet an old longneck named Pat.  Pat is important to the theme and climax but not to the main story.

The Longnecks are now in an enormous herd, and they stop in a giant crater that they think was made by the sun.  It is never explained but theoretically a meteorite from a long time ago or potentially giant moles.  In the crater Littlefoot gets in a fight with Shorty, and Shorty’s surrogate dad, Bron comes.  In a rewatch this is better, as we know Bron is being a surrogate dad and an unknowing biological dad at the same time.  After he gets Shorty to apologize Grandpa comes up and gives the franchise’s biggest (or second biggest) wham line “Littlefoot, this is your father.”  This scene does not work nearly so well on a rewatch, but I remember being very surprised as just a month before watching it my family was talking about how Littlefoot’s dad almost certainly died before the first one or in the great earth shake.  Littlefoot then captures the longtime audience perfectly by running away and wondering where was he all this time.  It also captures Bron’s sadness fairly well.

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I will add that the longnecks in the background look very distinct.  There is an Ultrasaurus and a Saltasaurus.  They are all different colors.   Bron finds Littlefoot and tells him what happened.  He left to find the right place for a nest and was gone longer than suspected.  This does fit into the story of the original, as they stopped going to The Great Valley only to nest.  Apparently he got really lost, which is justified as he did not know where the nest was made earlier.  It also makes it easy to assume he had some great untold adventures.  He only quit looking when he became a leader of a herd due to helping every young lost longneck he found, and there were many due to the recent deaths, and he had great evidence Littlefoot was dead.  It was very important to make this good  since many fans looked forward to Allie or Doc showing up again in this film, and many fans thought Doc was  Littlefoot’s father.  I think this explanation is great.  It keeps him very likable, but sows a real vulnerability.  It leads to a sweet song, “Me and my Dad.”  It ties well into having to choose family or friends and is a very sweet song.  It is the least good song in the film, but it is still good.

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After that it is shown that Shorty feels like Bron will now ignore him like everyone else.  I think Shorty is the worst character here, as he is too one dimensional annoying despite having a complex back story.  With Pat, Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike Pat tells the story of how they think an eclipse is the bright circle falling.  I like part of the mythology like the moon being jealous of the sun, but I think it makes parts of the climax underwhelming when there is no real danger.  For some reason they are going through a place full of lava, and it burns Pat’s foot really bad.  He tells everyone else to go on with out him, but they choose friendship in need over friendship that is not in need and excitement.  It is a good scene that is very important to the ending and tying the two major plots together.

The climax basically starts with Shorty leaving until Littlefoot acts like he is a brother.  It also shows more and more that Littlefoot will have to choose between his dad and grandparents.  Bron wants to be with Littlefoot and supports him to come back with him.  Grandpa is less decisive, but he thinks Littlefoot will choose his dad, and he is being supportive of it.  Getting Littlefoot and Shorty out is an excuse for them to run into Petrie who tells Littlefoot his friends are coming.

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Good fist impression of Shorty’s new brother’s friends

 

The climax has so many incredible parts, but also it has two key mistakes.  I was wondering when I saw it why it was not the earlier Gray sharptooth.  I quickly forget when Pat throws him against a tree.

It looks good that the children will get to the safety of the crater and Pat has brown sharptooth beaten until the camera show his burned leg, and it becomes apparent Pat cannot stand well.

Fortunately Bron hears it and comes to the rescue.  I should probably mention that the more active role they hinted at in “Adventuring” was more rock throwing.  It is underwhelming compared to 3, and it really does not do too much to help Pat.  Also Shorty, Ducky, Spike, and Petrie stay still afterwards for a surprisingly long time.  At least the music saves that part.  With Bron there he distracts the sharptooth and knocks him over by sliding under him and using his tail to knock him over.  That was cool to see.  I really should add that sharpteeth in this series have incredible durability compared to the herbivores and with the exception of 1 and 3 it is shown the most here.  The sharptooth gets up and does very well against Bron until Pat comes to double team him with heroic music, but it is actually dark foreshadowing.  After knocking the sharptooth all the way to a hard rock he gets up.  To make it worse the gray sharptooth shows up, and then a green sharptooth reversing the heroic reinforcements.  This is the first time the sharpteeth have received reinforcements since Six, but this is actually less intimidating.  In Six they had to fight ambiguously “The biggest, meanest, most ferocious sharptooth ever” or the one from the original.  Here it is the dumbest one in the series, a tough brown one and a random green one.  It also leads to the first major problem in this climax, the huge longneck herd.  Obviously Grandma and Grandpa join in.  The rest are mostly excused for not wanting to risk death for a few strangers but I would think Sue (and he new boyfriend because of her) would join in making it 6-3.  The sharpteeth put their smarter two members on Bron, as he is probably the best fighter in the franchise besides The Lone Dinosaur.  With Pat having a bad foot the dumb gray one is on him.  Littlefoot rushes to help his dad, and Cera’s reaction to him having a dad is too good.  Littlefoot does distract Green sharptooth long enough for Grandpa to make his own sliding head slam.  He later uses his head for bait, which sounds too risky,

to move sharptooth forward where Grandma can trip him off  cliff.  It is the first time they fought together since Two.  With the gray sharptooth Pat is overmatched, but Cera knocks one leg up by ramming him (I will buy it) and Shorty gets underneath the other leg, which trips Gray Sharptooth instead of squashing him.  As an adult I find this to be a major problem, but as a kid I thought that was cool, so I will let it pass.  Gray falls down and Bron guides Brown Sharptooth into his fall taking them both out.  An important moment to the theme is Littlefoot goes to his dad first.  If he had to make the choice now he would choose his dad, but Bron tells him to go to Grandpa.  It gives an implication his Grandpa needs Littlefoot more than Bron does, and it is implied he is keeping his son away from Brown Sharptooth, the most dangerous.  We then get to the second major problem with this climax.

I like the art of the eclipse, and these sharpteeth are amazing to somehow still go strong, but the eclipse is just no real danger.  It gives Sue some lines that should have gone to grandma.  We then get to the choice that made me certain that Littlefoot was going to leave with his dad, and the franchise would end…  That is why this is no where near as good after the first watch.  It relies so heavily on twists and red herrings, and it works because I was so attached to these characters.  It took all of the viewers’ attachments  and made the emotional moments really strong.  It actually backfired later due to making it seem like we were outgrowing the franchise when we put it in again.  It leads to the new top song “Bestest Friends.”  Michele Bourman and Amanda McBroom really out did themselves here.  It is rightly played over the end credits, and this is a real tear jerker.  Besides “If I had Words” from Babe this is the saddest song I ever heard especially when you think of friends who left.  The actors singing especially Cera’s actress, Andi McAfee, are terrific.  This one had me one hundred percent convinced the series was about to end, and Littlefoot would go with his dad.  I was truly shocked when he chose to stay in The Great Valley.

Besides Sue the new characters are great, and I was disappointed Pat did not speak in the Later Sequel trilogy.  It had great music, a flawed, but very good climax.  Littlefoot was done wonderfully.  The rest of the gang blurs in this one as one great unit.  The two distinct stories merged so well.  Bron was wonderful.  This is the new top ranking film, and it will possibly have this distinction for a long time.

The five best songs are now 1. Bestest friends (10) 2. Adventuring (10).  3. flip, Flap, Fly (12).  4. How do You Know (13). 5. Things Change (12).

The climax rankings are now 10, 14, 11, 12, 13

The new running time order is 10 (85 minutes), 14 (82 minutes) 12/11 (81 minutes each), 13 (76 minutes).

The new film rankings are 10, 14, 12, 11, 13.