YMMV / The Land Before Time

The first film:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is the Sharptooth a morality-lacking creature who's only killing out of predatory instinct, or a sadistic serial killer who enjoys killing other dinosaurs out of vengeance and pleasure? Even the users on this wiki can't seem to decide. The discussion became a little more complicated when the sequels revealed that Sharpteeth are just as intelligent and sentient as the herbivorous dinosaurs.
    • Notably, Don Bluth himself stated that he couldn't really view Sharptooth as a villain if he, indeed, was just a predator looking for food.
    • Also notably, the novelization expands Sharptooth's role, and makes it very clear that he is anything but a predator desperate for food, instead writing him as a vengeful and prideful killer who is only chasing the protagonists due to a grudge.
  • Awesome Music: The ending song "If We Hold On Together" by Diana Ross is viewed as a beautiful song and Leitmotif for the movie that is iconic to the film.
  • Better Than Canon: The novelization gives some insight into Sharptooth's mind, presenting him as a prideful Serial Killer who is actively hunting down the gang. It's not only more interesting than his depiction in the movie, which was mostly just a perpetually angry, mindless predator, but it actually explains how the gang keeps running into him.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene with the baby pterosaurs fighting over a cherry; it's cute, but it serves very little to the plot, besides perhaps lightening the mood after Littlefoot's mother dies. The only part of the scene where they serve any purpose to the main characters is when the blue one tries to give his cherry to Littlefoot to cheer him up.
  • Complete Monster: In The Illustrated Story novelization by Jim Razzi, Sharptooth is given the personality of a Serial Killer in a Tyrannosaurus rex's skin. Preying on the herds that try to make it to the Great Valley, Sharptooth is known for killing more for pleasure than for food and kills the young Longneck Littlefoot's mother when she tries to save her son from him. After Littlefoot accidentally damages Sharptooth's eye and the young Threehorn Cera headbutts him when he is unconscious, Sharptooth's ego is so bruised that he ends up relentlessly stalking them and their friends despite their lack of value as food to him just to murder the children out of spite. When he realizes he has found the entry to the Great Valley, Sharptooth plans on going on a killing spree to satisfy his bloodlust as soon as he has finished with the children.
  • Designated Hero: Cera is, to put it bluntly, a massive Jerk Ass. She calls Littlefoot's mother "a stupid longneck", despite the latter saving both her life and Littlefoot's. And then there's the scene where Petrie falls into the tar and she ignores his screams for help. And she has no excuse for her actions other than being taught to behave this way from her equally jerkish father. Then again, she was not portrayed as a hero per se, but as a very flawed and even unpleasant character who goes through a Break the Haughty routine. Thankfully, she gets better in the sequels.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: In a particularly horrifying interpretation of the film. Click if you want to never be able to watch this movie again 
  • Evil Is Cool: Sharptooth.
  • First Installment Wins: The original film is considered to be an excellent piece of work, even for adults... the musical sequels on the other hand tend to be quite disliked. Still, they have scores of fans and an entire forum, so they must have done something right.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: All of the scenes involving Ducky in danger become significantly more depressing considering the untimely death of Judith Barsi, who played her in the first film. And "Yep yep yep" is on her tombstone.
  • He's Just Hiding: Some fans believe that Sharptooth actually survived his last encounter with the heroes and is still out there. Usually, they back this claim with the fact that, for the entire movie, Sharptooth was shown to be extremely durable, and survived other situations that should have killed him.
  • Moral Event Horizon: All the things that Sharptooth did and especially the murder of Littlefoot's mother become this if you realise through the book that he is in no way a Non-Malicious Monster led by mere instinct and knew perfectly well what he was doing.
  • Narm: A lot of the dialogue in this movie is very awkwardly written and sometimes awkwardly acted. You don't question it when you're a kid, but rewatching it as a teen or adult might give you a case of the bad laughs.
  • The Scrappy: Petrie, initially. Since his flanderization in the sequels, he bizarrely seems to have been received better, possibly simply due to being a reflection to what many think of the films, or that his comedic antics disrupt the Darker and Edgier tone of the first film more conspicuously and jarringly than in the Lighter and Softer sequels.
    • Cera was also dangerously close to falling into this. While she was generally well-received by the critics, there were various viewers who were bothered by her attitude. It didn't help the fact that she remained the most prejudiced and bratty of the characters, and even insulted Littlefoot's mother despite the fact that she saved her life. Luckily (as it was said above), while still being the main character with the most attitude, in the sequels she Took a Level in Kindness, eventually becoming more popular with many of the fans.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • "Cera was too proud to admit (s)he'd gone the wrong way." This may be a by-product of Cera originally being developed as a male Triceratops named 'Bambo', which was changed halfway through the animation process.
    • Additionally, ask people what gender Littlefoot is and you'll be surprised at how the answer varies. They drew long eyelashes on Littlefoot. It doesn't help at all.
    • Ducky has to be the most obvious example; she can come off as a very expressive boy rather than a Tomboyish Genki Girl.
  • What an Idiot: So Cera was really crazy enough to lead the others through an area with active volcanoes, rivers of lava, tar pits, all with only a little land to move around in when minutes earlier she complained to Littlefoot that his path was harder?
    • It's actually possible that Cera was going the right way seeing as Littlefoot's mother said they had to go through "mountains that burn".
      • It appears that the Littlefoot and Cera got turned around during their fight. The scene starts with Littlefoot pep-talking the group up a mountain, suggesting the Great Valley may be on the other side. Finding a barren wasteland valley at the top, Cera decides she's had enough and starts back down, preferring the easy way. Littlefoot stops her, she insults his mom, fight ensues and they roll down the mountain into the valley. After the fight Cera storms off down the valley, while Littlefoot starts climbing back up the mountain they just crossed.
      • Also, to be fair, Cera had no idea that any of those terrors were on her path.
      • Littlefoot's mother said to go "past the mountains that burn." While this wording could still mean going through them, it could also mean that they would go by them. Littlefoot was going the right way the whole time, and his path was consistently difficult without being life-threatening (most of the time), while Cera's choice seemed easier at first but wound up being far worse overall.
      • Consider also that Cera's big character flaw is her pride. Even when it's abundantly clear that she's made a mistake, they're likely going the wrong way and that her 'easier' way is in fact much harder, turning back is unthinkable for her because it means admitting that she was wrong.
  • The Woobie: All of the main cast, except Spike (who is arguably still an Iron Woobie), get to be this at some point in the original. But especially Littlefoot.

The sequels:

  • Acceptable Target: It seems since the MarzGurl reviews of the sequels, they've become a popular subject of mass ridicule. Regardless, a large fanbase for the sequel films does exist.
  • Accidental Aesop: "The Great Log Running Game" from the TV series teaches us that if something is difficult, you're stupid to keep working at it. You'll just end up hurting yourself.
  • Accidental Innuendo: The 14th film Journey of the Brave gives us the song "Hot and Stinky" where the gang covers themselves in stinkweed to get past the sharp teeth.
  • Awesome Music: Believe it or not, some songs in this series aren't just stomachable, but enjoyable! The touching "No One Has To Be Alone" is a good example. There are several big tearjerkers, most notably "Always There", and at one point Cera's dad gets a rock song.
    • Said rock song, "Tough" is about the need to persevere no matter what and is Mr. Threehorn's "I Am" Song.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Opinions on Bron are divided. Some think he's a tragic character, while others don't believe his story.
    • Wild Arms from Journey of the Brave. Either he's a funny character with an interesting design, or he's obnoxious, reminiscent of the Yellow Bellies, and the worst part of the movie.
  • Broken Base: The confirmation that there will be a fourteenth movie after being "retired" for 8 years. Either you're happy to see the dinos mounting a comeback, or you believe that the series has run it's course, and is attempting to milk the Franchise Zombie of anything left. Or, you're in the third camp that is happy to see Land Before Time returning, but would prefer to see a complete reboot of the franchise.
    • There's also a camp of people who are upset that the series will continue without Kenneth Mars, voice of Grandpa Longneck, who passed away in 2011 from pancreatic cancer, as well as John Ingle (the narrator and Topsy) who passed away a year later.
  • Contested Sequel: In a series with many, many sequels, you can bet that they'll be this at best, if not fall into Sequelitis outright. We have people who hate every sequel, yes, and nearly everyone agrees that none of them hold a candle to the original, but defenders will argue that at least some of them are still good films in their own right.
  • Designated Hero: Old One is supposedly a wise leader to be admired, but really comes across as a Jerk Ass who isn't willing to do what it takes to save a dying fellow longneck.
  • Designated Villain: Ozzie and Strut have to eat eggs to survive.
    • It might be worse than that: it's extremely unlikely that any dinosaur species fed exclusively on eggs, although most small carnivores and omnivores would certainly raid a nest if they could get away with it. Ozzie and Strut could be restricting themselves to eggs as a substitute for actual meat. Their normal prey would mostly be small non-dinosaurian animals like lizards and mammals, but there are plenty of examples of those being sentient.
  • Ear Worm: "Come on lets go, and runaround run around. What a beautiful feeling, we finally found a peaceful vah-leeee! And everyone's having a good time nowwwww!"
    • "Big, big, big, big water, it's very big, big, big, big water..." You will have this tune in your head for the next epoch.
    • A particularly irritating example in "Stoopid stompers, clumsy cloppers, eating all the treestars with their giant choppers..."
    • Despite being overused a great deal, the versions of "I'm So Happy" are actually pretty catchy.
    • "Legend of the Lone Dinosaur". All this troper hears is DINOSAUR, something something something, DINOSAUR, in an infinite loop!
    • "Tough" aka Mr. Threehorn's "I Am" Song.
    • "When You're Big". Trying to get it out of your head is futile!
    • "Yes, imaginary friends are wonderful friends..."
    • "Friends for dinner. I'm gonna have friends for dinner..."
    • "Say So" from movie XIII.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Plenty, depending on who you ask. Some of the more common ones include Pterano, Hyp, Mo and Guido.
    • The Rainbow-Faces are a species of this, which may be due to them being magical aliens.
    • Probably the most popular two would be the first two major guest character: Chomper (see Breakout Character) and Ali, whom, judging from the narrative at the end of the fourth movie, was apparently intended to be the first guest character to be brought back for another movie (although this never happened, and she only reappeared for the TV series).
    • Pterano is a favorite among fans as well, thanks to being a Tragic Villain.
    • Guido from movie 12.
    • Wildarms from 14. During the preview of the first ten minutes of Journey of the Brave, many fans and even some detractors were impressed with what they saw... except for the last thirty seconds, where a flailing feathered dinosaurs makes an entrance as an obvious comic relief and jarringly contrasts against the sweet and sentimental tone of the rest of the preview. However, the full movie revealed him to be something of a repudiation of the mistakes made with the Yellow Bellies in film 13: unlike them, Wildarms comes across more like a self-aware fool than an oblivious idiot, and his clumsy helplessness is allowed to be a lot more endearing since his actions never directly hinder any of the main cast. His lovable cowardliness drew positive comparisons to Shaggy from Scooby Doo, and he went from one of the most dreaded aspects about Journey of the Brave before release to one of the most well liked after its release.
  • Evil Is Cool: Hyp and Pterano, two of the most enjoyable characters of the series, who each get their own very catchy Villain Song, and turn out to be much more sympathetic than they first seem.
  • Friendly Fandoms: The fandom seems to be in good terms with the bronies, as well as fans of almost everything dinosaur-related.
  • Fanfic Fuel: What will happen to the gang of five when they grow up and become adults is a very common theme discussed in the fandom.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Depending on who you ask, there at many different forms, you can...
    • Ignore ALL the sequels. They're all results of turning a beloved movie into a Cash Cow Franchise anyway.
    • Accept the original and the first sequel only. No heart after that.
    • Accept the movies up to IV and ignore the rest. In The Mysterious Island, they got a new director and started using brighter colors.
    • Accept the movies up to VII. Films V-VII each have their good points, and interesting guest characters, but VII would be the last film to have no non-conspicuous computer graphics.
    • Accept the movies up to X. We see Ducky and Spike's relationship get some interesting attention in VIII, we get a reprise of the best song from V in IX, and in X we finally meet Littlefoot's dad. But after this, the movies are more sitcom-like in nature, with multiple gag plots, characters like Cera's dad acting wildly out of character, and more explicit morals than people claim the first 9 sequels have.
    • Accept the movies up to XII. The Wisdom of Friends tends to be ignored, even by diehard fans of the sequel films, due to its overly silly nature.
    • Accept ALL the sequels. The Land Before Time is The Land Before Time, no matter what it is.
    • Accept ALL the sequels and the TV series.
    • Or any variation of the above.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Littlefoot/Ali (to those who aren't unnerved by them being near-clones or Kissing Cousins) and Littlefoot/Cera are both pretty popular, as is Ducky/Petrie.
  • First Installment Wins: Or first sequel wins in this case. The Great Valley Adventure is the only one of the sequels to receive close to wide acceptance, for continuing the story after the first movie, keeping some of the tone of the first film, not going too far into Tastes Like Diabetes territory, and introducing some well-liked characters like Ozzie and Strut, and Chomper.
  • Franchise Zombie: These were created without any input from Don Bluth, Steven Spielberg or George Lucas.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Journey into the Mists has Grandpa Longneck suffering from a terminal illness, which results in Littlefoot and the others going into the Valley of the Mists beyond the Great Valley in order to find the proper cure for his ailment. Grandpa Longneck was played by Kenneth Mars, who later died from pancreatic cancer in 2011.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Hyp. You can clearly see where his "the big rule the small" attitude comes from when you see how his dad treats him.
  • Memetic Mutation: The "Phonofoot" meme is an image of Littlefoot with a phonograph over his head while saying "And it flew real low", a sound clip from The Stone of Cold Fire.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In the climax of The Great Valley Adventure, Ozzie suddenly does this when he tries to kill both Littlefoot and Chomper by throwing them off the wall between the Great Valley and the Mysterious Beyond. Luckily, Chomper's parents come in to "save the day".
  • Nostalgia Filter: A pretty common reason for why the sequels have a fanbase and official forum.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Most video games based on the franchise are widely disliked because they have poor gameplay, hideous graphics and generic plots.
  • The Scrappy: Again, it varies from person to person. But in particular, the Yellow Bellies from the final movie, The Wisdom of Friends, are widely hated.
    • The Tinysaurus from Invasion of the Tinysauruses, Tippy from The Big Freeze, and Dinah and Dana from Secret of Saurus Rock are also very disliked due to being perceived as annoying.
  • Sequelitis: Possibly the most notorious example. The sequels undoubtedly have their fans, but are widely considered to be superfluous and lacking in any of the first film's charm and gravitas.
  • Snark Bait: Has since become shorthand for any movie franchise that forces itself into extinction.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The somewhat half-formed backstory of Chomper and Ruby's arrival in the Great Valley as refuge from Red Claw is prime material for a potentially good movie, but come movie fourteen and they're just already there...
  • Toy Ship: Littlefoot and Ali.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic/Rooting for the Empire: It's hard to see Ozzie continually fail to get his meal. This doesn't, of course, excuse his attempt to kill Littlefoot, however.
    • And the Yellow Bellies, of course.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheLandBeforeTime