Universal Pictures' second direct-to-video sequel to THE LAND BEFORE TIME wisely returns to the struggle-for-survival themes that made the 1988 animated feature so resonant.
This installment of the series begins with the evolution of life on Earth, up to the waning Age of Reptiles, where a leafy oasis known as the Great Valley still provides sustenance and shelter for kid brontosaur Littlefoot, girl triceratops Cera, pterosaur chick Petrie, and their other buddies and
A meteorite bombardment churns up terrain and staunches the river flowing into the Great Valley. Grownups ration the water and soon begin squabbling among themselves, Cera's hard-nosed father forbidding her from mixing with any other species. The dinosaur youngsters, through their usual frolics
and mischief, have explored the Great Valley more than their fearful elders and know that more water lies pooled in craters in the bordering Mysterious Beyond. The herds only move there in panic, when a lightning-ignited fire devastates the dried-out forests of the Great Valley. The Mysterious
Beyond is also prone to carnivorous "Sharpteeth." Three such meat-eaters attack, and in the process of pelting them with rocks the herbivores unblock the river, flooding the Great Valley again. But irreparable damage to their grazing lands forces the dinosaurs to adopt a nomadic existence,
cooperating to find and share food. The creatures establish a holiday, the Time of the Great Giving, to commemorate this enlightenment.
After the gloriously-rendered cosmic opening it's almost a pity that Littlefoot and his pals have to start speaking (and worse, singing) in contrived small-fry vernacular like "I don't like Sharpteeth. Their teeth are too sharp!" A subplot about brash biped Hyp and his iguanodon posse pushing
littler lizards around is just routine (the dumb bullies perform a musical number about, well, being dumb bullies). More effective is the estrangment between triceratops, brontosaurs and duckbills over the Great Valley's dwindling resources, a timely economic metaphor about hard times breeding
racial division, at least among adults.
The prehistoric animals are well-depicted, with particularly majestic perspectives reserved for Littlefoot's towering, long-necked grandparents. The forest fire sequence is a visual standout, almost matching the prologue in this, one of the best-looking products from MCA/Universal's in-house
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: G
- Review: Universal Pictures' second direct-to-video sequel to THE LAND BEFORE TIME wisely returns to the struggle-for-survival themes that made the 1988 animated feature so resonant. This installment of the series begins with the evolution of life on Earth, up to… (more)