Two Blogathons in a row about Don Bluth's movies? I didn't plan it this way, but when will I ever be able to talk about his movies?
Land Before Time is probably Don Bluth's most famous movie. So it's a wonder I've never fully watched it before. Maybe it was because of the massive string of direct-to-video sequels it spawned, none of which Mr. Bluth was involved in. For some reason, they all became musicals as well, and unfortunately for them, they didn't have the excellent James Horner to score them. The original story follows Littlefoot the Apatosaurus searching for a hidden valley after his mother is killed by Sharptooth the T-Rex and he's separated from the rest of his family. He meets a few friends and overcomes the prejudices they were taught against the other species. It's a great story, dark when it needed to be like Bluth's stories usually are, but a little too cute for my tastes the rest of the time. I guess I preferred my dinosaurs to be aliens or robots.
James Horner's score is great here, balancing scary panicked music while Littlefoot's mom fights off Sharptooth with a light, playful melody while a bunch if flier children fight over a berry. In truth, I wasn't too familiar with his work before researching this blog post. I'd heard his name some places, but John Willians and Danny Elfman were the only composers I could recognize. And here I found out some of the stuff I thought they did, was Horner's work after all. So many movies!
Anyways, back to this movie. I'm glad I took the time to finally sit down and watch this one. It's a cartoon pedigree, watching the movies Mr. Bluth made after he split from Disney. Though this one is far from my favorite, that is still held by NIMH, this one is still a great kids film, and one I had to watch without my wife since she said she'd cry through the whole thing. And I can see why. Bluth's movies had a real darkness to them, not lightening things to avoid scaring the kids, or making them feel sad. And James Horner's score does a fantastic job punctuating that.