Picks and Pans Review: The Land Before Time

updated 11/28/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/28/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Working out of the Lucas-Spielberg production factory, director Don (An American Tail) Bluth labored for nearly three years on this animated feature set in prehistoric times. The animation is fine. But the Stu Krieger screenplay contains violence that might be hard on the younger ones, preachiness that's hell on adults and a never-let-up cuteness that can turn minds of all ages to mush. The hero is Littlefoot, a young brontosaurus, who might have been called Bambisaurus. Littlefoot watches his mother killed by a tyrannosaurus rex, then must avoid starvation by getting to the Great Valley despite earthquakes, volcanoes and various disasters. Littlefoot doesn't know the way, but Mom had told him: "Some things you see with your eyes; others you see with your heart." If this weren't the land before time, you'd suspect Mom had seen a few Disney flicks. Luckily Littlefoot meets four other young dinosaurs of various species. Though warned to travel only with their own kind, these lost kids learn to—can you feel a message coming?—stand as one. This moral is underlined by a dreadful theme song, If We Hold On Together, sung by Diana Ross and ending with the refrain, "for you and I." Oh, me. Guess grammar doesn't count when you're teaching togetherness. (G)

From Our Partners