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Guys, I’m speechless.
Seriously, I’m at a loss for words.
I don’t even know how to properly start this thing. I’ll try my best, but I don’t know.
Yep, we’re getting another Land Before Time movie.
I’m not even sure how to react to this. Heck, for the longest time I didn’t even believe it. I thought the reason they stopped making Land Before Time movies was because Universal shut down their animation studios. So whenever I heard rumors or saw videos that reported that a new sequel was being made, I just chalked it up to some people getting faulty information from some Wikipedia or IMDB article. I didn’t think in a million years we would get another one of these films, and only a trailer would make me think otherwise.
And then I saw the trailer.
Oh crap. This….is actually happening.
In actuality, this is kind of old news, as the trailer came out a little more than a month ago, but I’ve only recently seen it and I’m willing to bet this is your first time hearing about it too. I am absolutely dumbfounded!
OK, so after fourteen movies spanning a period of nearly three decades, what could this movie possibly be about. Well, the basic formula for a Land Before Time sequel is for the main gang to come up with some reason to lead them out of the Great Valley into the Mysterious Beyond to have an adventure and probably get chased by Sharpteeth. Sure, different plot points and characters may mix things up a bit, but there will always be a moment where they go into the Mysterious Beyond and get chased by theropods. Always.
Except in the Seventh one, but that one had aliens or something so it kind of gets a pass.
So, judging by the trailer, it would seem that this movie is probably going to take a similar path. Although this time, the motivation seems to have something to do Littlefoot’s dad, who seems to be in trouble.
In case you don’t remember (or grew out of watching The Land Before Time before I did) Littlefoot was revealed to have a surviving father named Bron (voiced surprisingly well by Keifer Sutherland) in the tenth installment (yes, tenth!) of the franchise. This was all the way back in 2003!
It also seems like we’ll be getting an appearance from Chomper, who has been a recurring character from the franchise since all the way back to the second sequel, and Ruby the Oviraptor, who along with Chomper became a regular character in The Land Before Time TV series (which was also a thing in case you forgot). That show ended back in 2007.
So, with all the recurring characters from earlier installments of the franchise, this all got me thinking, who is this movie for? I mean, seriously! This movie is coming out nearly 10 years after the last installment of this franchise. Little kids today aren’t going to remember these characters from films that came out before they were born. People who grew up with the first movie have long lost interest, people who grew up with the sequels are too old as well, even kids who grew up with the TV series and where little kids then are now in no way in the intended age bracket.
Is this for the fans? I know The Land Before Time has a thriving online fan community who appreciates all the films as well as the TV show, but is that fanbase really big enough to make a movie for? Sure, they’re a sizable group, but they’re no bronies.
Any kid watching this with no knowledge of the other movies or TV series is going to go through continuity lockout, and I shouldn’t be saying that about a series of films for preschoolers, but that’s what happens when you make FOURTEEN goddamn films! The only way I can see this working is if Universal pushes the previous films and the TV show on DVD by advertising them or putting them in the very front of DVD sections and then hoping that kids will beg their parents to by all thirteen of the previous movies or at the very least the parents who grew up with these films decided they want to share them with their kids.
You know what, that might actually work.
Anyway, what else is there to see in this trailer? Well, looks like we’ll be getting a new celebrity voiced guest character, this time in the form of a Pteranodon voiced by Reba McEntire.
And of course, she has a song.
To me, it’s just so jarring to hear such a recognizable voice come out of this character, even though I normally don’t have that much of a problem of celebrities doing voice over work (although I do greatly prefer professional VA’s). Heck, and her overbearingly Southern accent also just sounds funny to me as the voice of a prehistoric creature.
And strangely enough, Reba has voiced and sang as an anthropomorphic character in a Direct to DVD sequel of a much better animated movie before.
Dixie from The Fox and the Hound 2. I’ve seen way too many mediocre DTV kids films.
However, I think one of the more interesting things about the trailer is the moment they show off the Sharptooth of the film. These movies always like to mix up what kind of predators will be chasing the Gang of Five, and this time they appear to be Yutyrannus.
Woah, are these feathers on a large theropod dinosaur that I see?
I actually find this pretty exciting. I’ve waited for so long to see large fluffy theropods in mainstream media, and I’m glad The Land Before Time decided to step it up. I’ve noticed a lot of the newer LBT movies would add more recent discoveries when they portray the dinosaurs, but you also remember that these films have been made in an almost 30 year period, and that is thirty years of many major paleontology discoveries, some of which changed literally everything we thought we knew about dinosaurs. This leads to a world that has Charles Knight/Dinosaur Renaissance dinos from the 80’s, more realistically proportioned dinosaurs from the 90’s, and even feathered dinosaurs from the 2000’s. Sure, we may have a fully feathered carcharodontosaur, but in this universe the raptors still look like this…
…and the Triceratops still look like this.
What a strange hodgepodge mess of a world they created.
So, in the end, what do I think of this movie? Well first off I do believe it is completely unnecessary to make a new one. The kids who grew up with these movies are far too old now to enjoy them, and I think they’re going to have a hard time finding any current 4 year old who has seen all thirteen of the previous films and the TV series. But it doesn’t matter. They’re making it, it’s happening. The movie will probably be mediocre at best, and I think it’s better to just leave it at that.
Although it does bring up one good question, how ticked off do you think Don Bluth is that Universal is still making money off of a movie he made 30 years ago?
My baby! What are you doing to my baby?!