The second part of the retrospective Land Before Time challenge saw the franchise’s worst film yet, but also one of the best. Personally I just hope the follow up films follow the standard of the latter, than the poor third film.
Anyway below is my thoughts so far:
Land Before Time III : The Time of the Great Giving (1995, Roy Allen Smith)
When the first film was released, “The Land Before Time” showed a non-Disneyfied filmic landscape in which storylines could cater to the older child and adults alike. However, the second sequel “The Time of the Great Giving” is nothing more than a watered down, pathetic attempt at unifying the storyline so as to attract a much younger demographic. As such the film fails to make much of an impact.
Once again following Littlefoot and friends during their peaceful existence in the great valley, “The Time of the Great Giving” alters the storyline mechanics of the first sequel very little – something happens and the gang set out to solve it (even though the adults can not). In this case, it is the lack of water after a meteor shower blocks the river that feeds into the valley.
Stressed and dehydrated, the adult dinosaurs start to panic and turn on each other – with Littlefoot and friends stepping up to show maturity above their parents. This is obviously a means to present a moral answer, but the film feels laboured to give the characters a point of view which is far above their age bracket.
Throw into the mix a group of annoying bullies (teenagers) and you have to messages relayed constantly to the viewer – one, in times of need don’t panic, and two, bullying is never acceptable and be treated how you wanna be treated.
The film can be let off with these two messages, but with its constant desire to push it down the audiences throat, the film just begins to get annoying. Thought being annoying it also drags, with the thin plot spread so lightly that it could easily have been a 30 minute TV episode.
The musical numbers are instantly forgettable, even more so than the first sequel. They never seem to be needed to push the film forward, but instead seemingly only takes a part in the film proceedings to Disney up the source material.
A weak entry that would more than likely bore any child above toddler age.
Plot – 1
Acting – 2
Direction – 2
Special effects – 1
Retrospect – 1
Overall – 1.5
Land Before Time IV : Journey Through the Mists (1996, Roy Allen Smith)
After the extremely poor third film, ‘Journey through the Mists’ could have been expected to follow suite. With its balance of threat, emotional attachment (Littlefoot’s Grandfather) and new characters however, the film escalates itself out of the mire found in the last feature.
With Grandfather longneck having fallen ill, Littlefoot and friends (including new Longneck child Ali) decide to venture into the lands of Mists to find the cure – a golden flower of immense healing properties. Along the way they learn the valuable lesson of never mocking someone new, as well as meeting two antagonists more used for comic relief than real threat.
The voice acting is a step up from the last film, and the plot is able to seem deeper than what has come before. Although this is the case, the film is still aimed towards the young child demographic, and as such can still be seen as a poor attempt at maturing its content. The addition of Ali seems unneeded, but perhaps that will come into play in the future.
Where the film really alters perception, is the final inclusion of interesting villains from which the plot can be explored. Ichy and Dil have some standout funny moments, and the pairs squabbling is more played for laughs than fear. This ofcourse perfects the film to a younger demographic, allowing an obstacle for the young characters to overcome. They also carry the films best song, “I Need You Like” which lingers in the mind after the films close.
Plot – 3
Acting – 3
Direction – 2
Special Effects – 2
Retrospect – 2
Overall – 2.5 out of 5