I watched The Land Before Time on VHS with the wifey last night. A few random thoughts:
1. That movie felt a lot longer when I was a kid. Maybe because my soul was so awash in anguish over the death of Littlefoot’s mother, and his ensuing depression, that my sorrow made the movie go by slower.
2. Animated movie story lines haven’t progressed very much since 1988. They still follow this basic pattern: “Hey, I know, we’ll take like five different kinds of [insert category here], have them go through [insert a cataclysmic, life-altering, dangerous event here], and in the process they’ll learn to get along and be tolerant of each other’s differences, and in the end everything turns out OK!” Yeah. Time for some innovation, Hollywood writers.
3. Petrie is gay. No other way to look at it. He “can’t” fly, but then he can. Come on – how can I not read that to mean that he’s coming out of the closet. And with that lisp of his, it’s just a dead giveaway.
4. Holy blatant evolution, Batman! And my parents let me, an impressionable 5-year-old, see this movie and allowed me to think that dinosaurs lived before mammals and human beings. Unconscionable. Maybe they were just too mesmerized by Pat Hingle’s deep, sultry narration to notice the overt evolutionary indoctrination. If there was ever some sneaky liberal agenda smuggled into a kids’ movie, this has gotta be the big one.
5. Littlefoot, Cera, Petrie, Ducky and Spike were really, really tiny dinosaurs. Right before Sharp Tooth smashed Littlefoot’s tree star, they were all sleeping in a dino footprint. Where’s the proper scaling? These were dinosaurs, not field mice.
6. Was that big, old spiky dinosaur that Littlefoot bumped into shortly after his mother died supposed to be a Yoda-like figure? Old, wrinkly dude with bushy eyebrows gives sage/Eastern-religiousy advice, then just wanders off, leaving the poor kid to fend for himself. Real original, George Lucas.
7. How many of those rubber hand puppets from Pizza Hutt did y’all have? We had dozens of them. Pretty sweet stuff.
8. I now know where Spielberg got the notion that he could pull off the ending in Jurassic Park, where the T-Rex “suddenly” appears and snatches the raptor out of the air – all without a single sound, tremor or anything. So, in TLBT, right before the gang dumped Sharp Tooth into the “pond”, Ducky goes into the cave to bait him out into the open. Ducky peeks behind a rock, sees Sharp Tooth, then cowers behind the rock when Sharp Tooth roars. When Ducky looks back up, Sharp Tooth is nowhere to be found. Ducky backs away from her hiding place, then – BOOM! – out of nowhere, there’s Sharp Tooth, right behind her! In other words, Spielberg barrowed a ridiculous, implausible scene from a 1988 kids’ movie to end one of the most ground-breaking films of the last 30 years. Way to think that one through.
All-in-all, watching the Land Before Time as a 25-year-old married, young professional really helped me figure out a lot of things in my life. Plus, it was more entertaining than watching LeBron James suck it up against the Celtics. (Always beware the MVP-award game.) And, most importantly, I was finally able to accept the death Littlefoot’s mother. I’ve been carrying that burden around for far too long. An enormous weight has been lifted from my soul.