The Land Before Time (1988) voices Judith Barsi, Pat Hingle, Gabriel Damon, Helen Shaver, Bill Erwin, Burke Byrnes directed by Don Bluth Movie Review

The Land Before Time (1988)   3/53/53/53/53/5

The Land Before Time (1988) voices Judith Barsi, Pat Hingle, Gabriel Damon, Helen Shaver

The Time When Cute Was Fine

A long long time ago the plant eating dinosaurs were running out of food and in order to survive must journey across many miles to the Great Valley. Along the way the dinosaurs end up in trouble when they are attacked by the pursuing sharp toothed meat eating dinosaurs and then an earthquake. It leaves orphans Littlefoot and Sarah to go off on an adventure where they meet other young dinosaurs who have to work together in order to survive.

I was 16 when "The Land Before Time" premiered in the UK and whilst I was offered a free ticket to go and watch it I politely, well I think politely, passed on the chance as whilst I had liked dinosaurs when I was younger the thought of watching a children's animation about baby dinosaurs did nothing for me. In truth before I sat down to watch "The Land Before Time" for the first time recently, some 25 years after its release, part of me still wondered whether to bother. I'm glad I did as this is a cute animation, perfect for young children who have that youthful interest in prehistoric creatures and quite charming for grown ups as well.

Now story wise "The Land Before Time" isn't anything special as it is just another adventure movie where we follow the exploits of a child and friends as they head across country, get in to trouble and out of it of course. The only difference is that this time the children just happen to be a varied bunch of cute dinosaur babies who each have their own very distinct character. These characters combines with their cuteness and the fact they are children also make it stereotypical and reminiscent of other animations such as "An American Tail". In fact "The Land Before Time" works well as a double bill with "An American Tail" due to their similarities.

But whilst "The Land Before Time" is familiar it works and it is one of the cutest animations I have come across. In fact whilst now over 25 years old there is something simply charming about the old fashioned animation which strands up well compared to modern computer based animations.

What this all boils down to is that "The Land Before Time" is in many ways nothing special with a familiar adventure based storyline surrounding youngsters. But it is cute, beautifully animated and pleasantly inoffensive which for grown ups adds to its charm even if it is intended for young children.