Land Before Time Retrospective Challenge (5 & 6)

 

So almost halfway through the franchise now and finally a film has come along that is as good as the first . See my thoughts below :

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Land Before Time V : The Mysterious Island (1997, Charles Grosvenor)

After losing their water source in the third movie, Littlefoot and Co are now without their food – originality right there. When a swarm of food – gobblers attack the great valley and devour the entire greenery, the herds of dinosaurs have to leave to find a source of fresh vegetation so as to survive.
Worried that they will be split up, the five friends decide to go off on their own and find this new place on behalf of their parents. Moving to a island of the coast, and losing the path to get back – Littlefoot, Cera, Petrie, Ducky and Spike find themselves in a strange place. Luckily however, they bump into an old friend – Chomper – returning from a previous adventure.

With another new director taking over the role within this film, standards have once again dropped in both animation quality and voice over work. Now this on its own is not enough to discredit this film from its target audience, but it is noticeable fairly early in proceedings. This drop in standard has been a consistent factor within these films, and although it’s present here its not entirely unexpected.

Where the film falters is in the standards of plot. Gone are the interesting villains, instead the idea of loss is used as the driving point. Much like the third film, the factor that controls where the story goes, is that of the need to find food. It is through once again relying on this to cause a conflict that the film feels slow and tedious. With only a showdown thrown in the last ten minutes to give the film a climax of sorts, ‘Mysterious Island’ fails in closing the film effectively nor giving true credence to any issues that could pose a real threat to the characters. Now liberties must be given to the fact that the film is aimed primarily at children, but these choices make the entire film feel shallow and simple.

Plot – 1
Acting – 2
Direction – 2
Special Effects – 1
Retrospect – 1
Overall – 1.5 out of 5

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Land Before Time VI : The Secret of Saurus Rock (1998, Charles Grosvenor)

For the first time since the original, ‘Land Before Time’ has finally presenting both an interesting storyline and high animation standards. ‘The Secret of Saurus Rock’ is entertaining to watch, more mature than the previous sequels and carries enough homages to other iconic films, to cater for the more than casual film observer.

After being told the tale of a dinosaur legend, Littlefoot and friends begin to pretend they are the Great Valley’s greatest Hero. However, when a new dinosaur enters their homeland, Littlefoot feels that the story is in fact true. Cera disagrees and in the argument sends her twin nieces away. Heading to Saurus rock, the twin find themselves in danger so Littlefoot and friends rescue them – breaking the rock in the process. With this causing bad luck to the inhabitants of the valley, Littlefoot heads out to fix the issue he feels responsible for.

With a relatively simple storyline, ‘The Secret of Saurus Rock’ caters for the younger demographic but carries enough development in the characters to becoming entertaining for older children also. With the mysterious Whiptail Doc (Kris Kristofferson) being an excellent addition to the storyline, the film manages to pay homage to Western films as well as the more obvious ‘Lone Ranger’ attribute that the whole story is given.

It is through this entertaining pay off, and the fact that the film has tried to incorporate different aspects to the dried formula, that Land Before Time 6 works so well. With better voice over work, entertaining plot points and worthwhile character development the film finally manages to shake the shackles of its previous entrants, while creating something quite enjoyable.

Plot – 3
Acting – 3
Direction – 3
Special Effects – 3
Retrospect – 3
Overall – 3 out of 5

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