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The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure

Starring: Linda Gray, Heather Hogan
Director: Roy Allen Smith
Rated: G
RunTime: 74 Minutes
Release Date: January 1994
Genres: Animation, Kids

*Also starring: Candace Hutson, Kenneth Mars

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

The original THE LAND BEFORE TIME is an excellent and delightful dinosaur adventure tale. In the first sequel, LAND BEFORE TIME II: THE GREAT VALLEY ADVENTURE, it is still set in the beautiful Great Valley, and we have the same precious lead characters, but the director (Roy Allen Smith instead of Don Bluth), writers (Dev Ross, John Loy, and John Ludin instead of Judy Freudberg, Tony Geiss, and Stu Krieger), and all of the voices are different.

This version tells a pleasant little story of no real consequence, but as a lightweight fable for kids, it works fairly well. If you want a compelling story, you should go for the original. Even the second sequel, LAND BEFORE TIME III: THE TIME OF THE GREAT GIVING, has a better developed script. At least in the first sequel you can escape the pedantic lectures about saving the environment that you have to endure in the second sequel. LAND BEFORE TIME II features playing dinosaurs who don't do much of anything, but they are cute, and kids love them.

Ducky, Petrie, Littlefoot, Spike and Sarah again play the leads, but they get a costar that upstages them in any scene he is in. More about him later. Each of the dinosaurs has his or her own little personality and quirks. Precious is the only way to describe them.

LAND BEFORE TIME II is a movie full of lovely and inspiring music (Michael Tavera) and songs. Movies need strong villains, but the best LAND BEFORE TIME II can come up with is a couple of dinosaurs, Ozzie and his friend, who eat other dinosaur eggs. They are mildly bad guys with British accents who get scared by shadows, literally. Other than some T-Rexs that make an appearance at the end, there is nothing to put tension into the minimalist plot.

What the show consists of is the everyday antics of a bunch of kids, albeit dinosaur kids. They disobey their parents and venture into The Sinking Sand. Of course, they get stuck and then get pulled out. Once they say the words "sinking sand", any viewer can write the next few scenes. Worse than The Sinking Sands, is The Mysterious Beyond. Whereas their parents caution their children about The Sinking Sands, they absolutely forbid anyone to go to The Mysterious Beyond, which is the land just outside of The Great Valley and the land where the T-Rexs roam.

The kids find Ozzie and friend stealing an egg and, you guessed it, they track them into The Mysterious Beyond. To get there they have to jump over large ravines into which where they nearly fall. Naturally, they rescue the egg successfully. The big conundrum is, which species of dinosaur is inside the egg. It turns out to be a baby T-Rex, and they decide to call him Chomper because of his eating habits. Of all of the animation (Nelson Shin), the drawing of Chomper is the most imaginative, and he is clearly the star of the show. He is drawn with a small body but a head so large he can hardly hold it up and walking is tricky even with his gigantic feet. He has no lines and only coos. A real scene stealer of a character.

LAND BEFORE TIME II runs just 1:14. It is rated G since absolutely nothing offensive happens. In fact, not much happens at all in the show, but given target audience of young kids and given how much fun it is watching these characters frolic about, perhaps that is enough. The film is available now on video. My son Jeffrey (almost 7) likes every show in the series and can not wait for LAND BEFORE TIME IV which is in production now. For my taste, I can not recommend LAND BEFORE TIME II, and it just barely gets ** in my book. I liked LAND BEFORE TIME III a little better and LAND BEFORE TIME a lot better, and the only one in the series I recommend is the original LAND BEFORE TIME.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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