The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure (1994)
In search of some adventure in their safe and peaceful valley, the five young dinosaur friends make a hideaway. From there, they spot two thieves in action, stealing an egg from one of their broods. They chase them down and manage to recover the egg without its parents noticing, but in the process, accidentally create an opening into the valley, allowing two dreaded Sharptooths in. Everyone must fight them off together to preserve their peaceful way of life.
REVIEW: Over the next long while, I plan on watching and reviewing every single Land Before Time Direct-to-Video sequel, starting with The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, in celebration of a brand new one coming out this year, for the first time in almost 10 years. Growing up I had only seen up to Part 5, so everything after that will be brand new to me, and even everything before that is very fuzzy to me.
However, to begin I'd like to give some very brief thoughts on the infamous first, and currently only theatrical, Land Before Time movie. To this day, the first, original, and best movie in the series is also one of the best animated movies ever made to me. It brings me back to my childhood like nothing else does, and I can even still remember (very vaguely) seeing this one in the theater, even though I was only 4 at the time. Each character had their own lovable and memorable personality, and it's essentially a road trip movie with dinosaur kids. It had genuine humor in it, mixed with harrowing tense scenes, and all topped off with some of the most tear-jerking heart-filled scenes of any animated movie before Pixar. And I'm sorry The Lion King, as much as I love you, this fellow kid's movie handled the death of a parent first and (IMO) even better. As far as animated family movies go, it does not, and never will, get better than the original The Land Before Time.
Unlike the first movie, Part 2 starts the long-running tradition of having annoying silly childish songs throughout each movie, something that annoyed even Little Me way back when. With that said, the songs in this particular entry are actually kinda catchy and, dear I say, I kind of enjoyed them. Certainly nowhere near as terrible as the songs from some of the other DtV sequels still to come. It also helps that the plot here is a pretty fun one, albeit it pretty light, which includes the introduction of a new (temporary) member of the group, a baby T. Rex named Chomper, who was easily my favorite character in the entire series when I was a kid, despite showing up only twice throughout the series. Where the first movie was essentially a road trip movie, this one is pretty much an Adventures in Babysitting movie as the characters come across this newly-hatched Rex egg and have to look after the baby Rex Chomper, while keeping him safe from the two main antagonists (two egg-stealing dinosaurs, one voiced by Pinky from Pinky and the Brain). Where the first movie had just one Rex as it's villain, this one has not just the two egg-stealing dinosaurs as the main villains, but also two secondary ones (the T. Rex parents of Chomper), so suffice to say there is rarely any down time or dull moments to be found here, as there is almost always something..ahem...hatching...for our characters.
I really don't have many complaints. Sure, as an adult a lot of the scenes, dialog, and especially song numbers are pretty damn cheesy and eye-rolling, as are the main messages at the end of the movie that get beat over your head in very not-so-subtle manners, but as a kid I totally ate all that stuff up, so it's hard to really hold that against the movie too much considering it worked perfect for it's target audience.
Of course none of the DtV sequels come close to the original movie, but as far as the DtV sequels go, Part 2 is definitely one of the more fun ones that I can remember, and was probably my personal favorite as a kid, outside the original movie itself. Even the annoying tacked on songs aren't nearly as bad in this entry as they are in some of the others. For what it is, The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure is actually a rather light and enjoyable animated dinosaur sequel kid's film.