A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this straight-to-video story of friendship among young dinosaurs feels like what it is, the twelfth attempt to wring life out of the charming movie that started it all, The Land Before Time. Themes of friendship, being true to yourself, and learning to cope with the arrival of a new sibling are always welcome for the preschool set this movie targets. But it's a hard slog for parents and kids older than 6.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the twelfth installment of the popular The Land Before Time animated series, young dinosaur friends are happily anticipating the Great Day of the Flyers, during which young fliers like pterodactyl Petrie (voiced by Jeff Bennett) have a chance to show their elders that they're ready to fly in a group. The problem is that Petrie has a hard time keeping up with his synchronized siblings, who are quick to blame him whenever their aerial maneuvers fall apart. Petrie's steadfast friends Littlefoot (Nick Price), Cera (Anndi McAfee), and new feathered friend Guido (Rob Paulsen) help Petrie find the courage to withstand his family's criticism and follow his own flight plan. Meanwhile, Cera, a "three horn" dinosaur is trying to cope with the impending arrival of a younger sibling, and her father and stepmother's lack of attention.
Is it any good?
THE LAND BEFORE TIME XII: THE GREAT DAY OF THE FLYERS provides some harmless entertainment for preschoolers, but plods along at an incredibly slow pace. The scene of the friends following a sleepwalking friend to protect him along his somnolent way seemed particularly long. A few perky songs like "Flip, Flap and Fly" are sprinkled throughout to keep the energy level up. However these ditties almost make Barney songs sound sophisticated.
The animation is serviceable, particularly the natural surroundings in which the action took place. The pidgin English of main character Petrie -- "me see friends!" "me no know!" -- might feel familiar to preschoolers, but it's not something that most parents will want to reinforce.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Petrie the pterodactyl finds the courage to fly in his own style. How did his friends Cera, Littlefoot, and especially Guido give him encouragement? Have you ever encouraged your friends to do something they were scared to do?
For families with new younger siblings on the way, Cera's story is a good opportunity to talk about how life may change when the new baby arrives. Since many preschoolers are fascinated by dinosaurs, they may want to look up the real names of the "long neck," "sharptooth," and "three horn" characters.
- In theaters: February 27, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: February 27, 2007
- Cast: Anndi McAfee, Aria Curzon, Nick Price
- Director: Charles Grosvenor
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Adventures, Friendship
- Run time: 77 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: General Audiences
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