"Do You Know the Way to the Great Valley?"
Did you know there's a PLOT? And really cool characters? And deep spiritual undertones?
I remembered the first fifteen minutes of this movie, the ending, and not much else. What gives? Speaking for our merry band, it's not that we forgot the details of this movie. We repressed them.
"The Land Before Booze": The Rules
2 shots of vodka
1/2-1 shot of green creme de menthe
The result is a refreshing beverage that brings to mind rainwater falling off a palm leaf.
1. Drink for Title Drops. This only happens once this time, but it's a good way to start off the game for everybody.
2. Drink for Daddy Issues.
3. Drink when they Drink. Unfortunately, this never happens. The movie's depressing that way.
4. Drink whenever someone says the words "Tree Star".
5. Drink whenever somebody mentions "The Great Valley".
All of the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink whenever Ducky says "Yup, yup, yup" or "nope, nope, nope". This one's fun to chime in on.
2. Drink whenever someone says "Sharptooth". Again, since this word is mostly screamed, very fun to repeat before drinking.
All of the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink whenever a character goes through a near-death experience. Drink twice if a character actually dies.
2. Drink whenever somebody breaks something.
This is a short movie, so this accounts for the more difficult rules. If you get nervous, just remember, you're a flyer, not a faller.
Seb: Wants a pet triceratops (Easy)
The Fuzzy Masked Man: PhD in sexy rock formations (Medium)
The Bishop: Cried for the first time watching this movie (Hard)
Let's take a journey to a terrifying wasteland. Here's The Land Before Time!
Reading Between the Lines
And then the entire movie clicked.
A huge theme of the film is the power of faith, of believing in something that you might not have tangible proof of. Littlefoot has never seen the Great Valley. All he's got is his Mom's word that it's real and some vague guidelines that tell him how to get there. In this way, he's acting as our little Brigham Young taking the rest of his friends across the desert to Salt Lake City.
This sheds a lot of light on Littlefoot as a protagonist, as well. As pointed out by The Fuzzy Masked Man, he wasn't born into greatness. He was born into a pretty bad situation, and there's nothing particularly special about him except his dead Mom. But he has the power to lead, and he has great faith, and he's rewarded for those traits above all else. The only help he gets is from a godlike creature called Rooter who dispenses generic wisdom, and his companions. Otherwise he's at the mercy of the wilderness, just like the Mormons during their journey centuries ago.
Speaking of Wilderness...
And then, you know, there's this scene...
But what's most sad about this movie isn't Littlefoot's mother dying: It's how Littlefoot DEALS with her death. He plays jumprope with the five stages of grief, and spends a good ten minutes of the movie extremely depressed. At one point, he sees a shadow of himself on a cliff wall, assumes it's his Mom and runs towards it, only realizing he's wrong when he's licking rock instead of his Mom's face.
Well, I'm sure the similarities end there. It's not like both movies show the deceased parent in the clouds or...
"Well, maybe a couple weeks passed. Dinosaurs have to grow big really quickly," said the Fuzzy Masked Man.
"But there IS no time," countered Sandy B'Drinkin.
The Economics of Berries in a Survivalist Hierarchy
In a light comedic scene in the middle of the depressing stuff, a quad of bird siblings fight over one red berry. It plays like a game of touch football; they all get their hands on it at some point, but none of them keep it for long.
"That is exactly what siblings are like," said Shirley Whiskas.
"That is the current state of the economy," followed The Bishop, taking the left fork in the road where their thoughts converged.
Later, a hoard of Longnecks (who DON'T offer to show our heroes the way to the Great Valley) pillage a small grove of trees, leaving only the meagrest of Tree Stars for Littlefoot and friends.
"Guys," Sandy said, "They just demonstrated the tragedy of the commons!"
My economic beef? Littlefoot's toting around this Tree Star because his mother gave it to him, but meanwhile everyone around him is starving. Eventually the Tree Star gets smushed by a rampaging Sharptooth, so I feel like he should have eaten it while he had the chance. Why sit on your only resource until it becomes useless?
"I feel like we're being overly mean to a child, here," Shirley eventually said as we continued to make catty remarks about her whenever she went onscreen. Although she recinded her remark when Cera attempted to headbutt an unconcious Sharptooth. Mean is mean, but stupid is stupid.
Drink whenever someone screams.
According to Wikipedia, there are several scenes that were left on the cutting room floor because Steven Spielberg thought they would be "too disturbing" for a young audience. Most likely, if they cut any more, there wouldn't be a movie. Get through the traumatizing moments with a swing of alcohol.
Drink for flashbacks
This is mostly a "Hail Mary" for the end of the movie so you can finish whatever's in your cup, but most of what Littlefoot does when he's all by his lonesome is remember the things his Mother told him. It's a big dead space in the film that's easy to fill.
Drink whenever someone says something racist.
Aside from the huge theological themes, this movie also talks about how even though we look different we're all really the same. We're all dinosaurs...I mean, human. But boy, it sure takes our characters a long time to learn that. Use this rule whenever someone defines themselves or others by their physical deformaties.
Thanks again for joining us, guys! Remember to follow us and watch out for next week's movie!