The Land Before Time

Ironically, this Spielberg-Lucas collaboration (1988) came closer to reviving the classic character animation of Disney in its heyday than Disney’s simultaneously released Oliver & Company. What we get is a kind of dinosaur Bambi featuring an all-prehistoric casta tale about growing up set in an adventure about a survival trek. Spielberg reportedly found the original cut too scary and violent, and changes were expensive. Some of the action sequences feel abbreviated, but the overall handling of landscape and character is well done, and some of the old Disney mysticism about parental and ancestral roots manages to shine through. Not a masterpiece, but nicely crafted. Don Bluth directed. G, 70 min. (JR)

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