This time, while building a hideaway in their new home of the Great Valley, Littlefoot and the gang rescue a mysterious egg from two scheming egg-nappers and make a starling surprise - and n... Read allThis time, while building a hideaway in their new home of the Great Valley, Littlefoot and the gang rescue a mysterious egg from two scheming egg-nappers and make a starling surprise - and new friend - when the egg hatches.This time, while building a hideaway in their new home of the Great Valley, Littlefoot and the gang rescue a mysterious egg from two scheming egg-nappers and make a starling surprise - and new friend - when the egg hatches.
Now imagine my surprise as a kid to find out that there had already been five sequels made. I wasn't too picky, so I gave them a watch. Back then, seeing more adventures of Littlefoot and his friends was pretty much all I cared about. Now, as a critic, I must see them with a more analytic and observant eye.
Some fans of the original have disregarded these sequels. The general reason for this is that they have a somewhat softer tone and never strike as much emotion as the original. Therefore, I agree, none are as good.
The questions you have to ask with a sequel are "Are the characters continued well? Do they become more developed? Does the movie follow the logic of the original?" In the case of the Land Before Time sequels, the answer is yes on all accounts. Because the characters are so close to me, watching them mature as the series progresses is like seeing a friend or sibling grow morally or spiritually. Case in point, "The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure".
In 1994, six years after the original was released, this movie, as well as its successors, was brought out straight to video. But there's so much effort put into elements that kids wouldn't care about that it easily could have been theatrical material. For direct-to-video fare, the animation is surprisingly first-rate. It's not quite as stunning as Bluth's animation, but great all the same. The score by Michael Tavera almost matches the brilliance of James Horner's phenomenal score from the first movie. There's good money in this.
As the opening song suggests, this movie takes place very shortly after the end of the first movie. Littlefoot the apatosaurus, Cera the triceratops, Petrie the pteranodon, Ducky the saurolophus, and Spike the stegosaurus have made it to the Great Valley, and are living a peaceful and playful life under the watch of their families.
We have mostly new voice actors, the only exception being Candace Hutson reprising her role as Cera. Veteran voice actor Jeff Bennett voices Petrie with the nasal consonance that Will Ryan had. Kenneth Mars, who is most famous for his voicing role as King Triton, is likable and solemn as Littlefoot's grandfather. Heather Hogan is cute as Ducky, but doesn't quite have the innocence that Judith Barsi so rightfully put into the character. Scott McAfee voices Littlefoot in the RAS trilogy (movies 2, 3, and 4), and out of all the voice actors for him in the entire series, McAfee is my favorite, sounding masculine enough in the high voice Littlefoot is known to have.
We're then introduced to the villains Ozzy and Strut. They are struthiomimus brothers, as verified in a lyric of their song "Eggs", which is the catchiest song in the movie. Strut loves to graze on plants much to the annoyance of Ozzy, who is most fond of eggs.
During a night that Ozzy and Strut go out to steal an egg, Cera wakes up Littlefoot, Ducky, Spike, and Petrie and tells them that she's sick of being treated like a hatchling, and tries to work out a plan to go on strike. Littlefoot is tired of being a kid, but is still somewhat opposed to the plan. But when they notice Ozzy and Strut walking away from Ducky's nest with an egg, they all see their chance to prove themselves independent. They chase them into the Mysterious Beyond, the land outside of the Great Valley, and straight into a cave where the darkness causes everyone to panic and run amok, resulting in a landslide. The egg coincidentally rolls safely back into Ducky's nest. The gang lands in the Mysterious Beyond relatively unharmed, and come across a large egg that they mistake for the one Ozzy and Strut stole. The five work together to bring it home again, only to find Ducky's egg there.
Believing that Ducky's egg was there all along, they come to the conclusion that Ozzy and Strut stole this one from a different nest. They start to think it might be fun to raise the hatchling as their own, so they stand around the egg waiting for it to hatch. When it does, they realize that the egg contained a baby tyrannosaurus. But Littlefoot shows the rest of the gang that he's harmless and they welcome him into the valley, which starts the song "You're One of Us Now". I like the spirit of this song, but the lyrics aren't a lot. There's even a part where Littlefoot seems to cram too many words into one line.
We also get the best fight scene in the series, complete with dutch angles, when a local battle breaks out between two tyrannosaurs and the adult dinosaurs, with the kids participating somewhat. One of the most memorable scenes is when Littlefoot's grandpa fights off one of the sharpteeth in a lake.
The film delivers a good message on making the most of your young years and how fun it is to be a kid. Yes, that isn't the strongest message when you compare it with that of the original, but here's how I see it: The first movie tells the story of these characters' greatest redemption. They will continue to learn throughout the series. And if you ask me, this is a good place to start. It's certainly not as good as the original, but it, and (most of) its successors, are good sequels in their own rights.
7/10 for "The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure".
- Jul 24, 2013