The Land Before Time (1988)
A new generation of children and grandchildren may have missed out on seeing the original classic animated dinosaur adventure, The Land Before Time. This Sullivan Bluth Studio production became so popular with young children that it spurred 12 sequels-albeit the first film (as with most movies) was the best.
The same great studio to bring us such great titles as The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail and All Dogs Go To Heaven tell the touching story of an orphaned baby dinosaur who struggles for survival and to reunite with his grandparents. The way the storyline and simplified dialogue flows makes this movie an easy follow for young children, however be forewarned. Like the classic Disney film, Bambi, The Land Before Time has an undertone of family loss as well as a ferocious nemesis in the T. Rex Character, Sharptooth.
Early in the film the small ‘longneck’ called Littlefoot (voice of Gabriel Damon) befriends a young triceratops named Cera (voice of Candace Houston). Both young dinosaurs become pursued by a Tyrannosaurus Rex known as Sharptooh, who is thwarted by Littlefoot’s mother. His mother suffers fatal wounds in the battle and leaves Littlefoot abandoned. Following this, a huge earthquake separates Littlefoot and Cera from their respective clans, and from there the adventure begins. The pair meet good friends along the way and share in times of laughter, sorrow and terror as they make their way to meet up with migrating herds heading to the legendary Great Valley, where all will be safe.
The cinema quality animation mixed into a great script is what made the premiere Land Before Time movie the best. Following sequels were popular as well with young audiences, who had become familiar with the main characters to the series. If you have never seen any of this series and are looking for a good movie to watch with young ones, I would suggest this.