Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Land Before Time: Good Times & Good Friends

My library has some DVDs for the The Land Before Time TV show. I didn't even know there was a TV show. Apparently, the show aired in 2007, the same year as the thirteenth movie. The first DVD I got was Good Times & Good Friends, and it has four episodes.

The Star Day Celebration is all about Ruby. Who is Ruby? I have no idea. She wasn't in any of the movies. Fortunately, the episode briefly delves into her backstory. One year ago, on her birthday, Ruby's family was attacked by carnivores. To keep her safe, her parents sent her to live with Littlefoot in the Great Valley, so she could learn about sharing and friendship.

I don't understand that explanation. What does "learning to share" have to do with "protecting yourself from carnivores"? Why did Ruby's parents only send HER to safety, and not her siblings? Heck, why did Ruby's parents not move to the safe area? Instead, they asked Chomper to guide her there. Chomper, the baby T-Rex. It's cool to see Chomper again, but maybe the BABY isn't the best choice for a guardian.

Anyway, Ruby is sad because it's been a year since she last saw her family. Our heroes decide to cheer her up with a surprise birthday party. They get her some special berries, and they help her when she's caught in an unexpected landslide. That's basically it for the episode. I didn't like it very much.

The animation quality was okay, but definitely not as good as the movies. The main problem was consistency. Cera's pupils kept changing shape from shot to shot, and Littlefoot's cheeks occasionally ballooned out, like he had gained several pounds. And when characters turned around/to the side, their faces got a little weird.

The Brave Longneck Scheme is a follow-up to the fourth movie. Littlefoot's love interest, Ally, returns to the Great Valley with her herd. But, uh oh! She's got a new boyfriend! Rhett is a phony braggart, who pretends that he's a brave hero. He tells several tall tales, about how he fought dozens of villains and saved everyone.

Our heroes are pretty sure that Rhett is lying about his adventures. So they decide to test him, by setting up a fake emergency. Rhett screams and runs away, exposing him as a liar. Our heroes triumph for a while, but then Rhett tells the adults about the emergency, resulting in a minor uproar. In the end, both Rhett AND our heroes learn that it's wrong to lie and create fake situations. I liked that moral, and how the show didn't let our heroes get away with acting like jerks, in their quest to stop a villain.

I also liked how they sang Friends for Dinner from the fifth movie. The lyrics were changed slightly, and they made it as short as possible, but I think I liked this rendition better, because they had a better person doing Littlefoot's singing voice.

The animation was good for this episode. It was different, though. Compared to the movies, the characters were simpler and less detailed. Littlefoot's head lost the lines on the top of his muzzle, while Cera's eyes and forehead became larger. It didn't bother me, because it was very well-done; the characters' faces were interesting and expressive, even if they were different from normal. I actually would like to see more of the series, done in this different style.

The Great Log Running Game is a Cera episode, and storylines with her are usually my favorites, because she's an interesting character. To be honest, only the Cera and Littlefoot storylines interest me. The other characters are mostly comic relief, and it's hard to take their problems seriously. Whereas Cera and Littlefoot have struggled with real, heavy problems, ever since the first movie.

In this episode, Cera's father gives her a big pep talk about how she can do anything she wants, because she's a triceratops. Good advice for your daughter, but she takes it too far and insists that she can win a log-rolling game that's designed for two-legged dinosaurs. Cera injures herself, which convinces her to try harder, and then she gets caught in a dangerous current. Everyone works together to save her.

This episode wasn't the greatest, but I liked the scenes of Cera and her father. It's interesting to see him try to help his daughter, only to cause more problems for her. Poor Mr. Three Horn. For someone who was introduced as a one-note villain, he's sure taken on a lot of depth.

The Bright Circle Celebration is a straight up WEIRD episode. It's about religion, which has never been mentioned before in the series, because all the characters are dinosaurs. I mean, dinosaur religion?

Well, it turns out that the dinosaurs are nature worshippers. Petrie goes on and on about appeasing the sun god, because if the sun isn't happy with them, it will make the days shorter and shorter until they all die. Cera rightly notes that the sun doesn't CARE what they're doing, because it's a ball of gas in the sky. But Petrie insists, they have to make the sun god happy by fixing up his sacred clearing and having a traditional ceremony there. The episode doesn't go into much detail, but the ceremony appears to be something of a mix between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The dinosaurs argue whether or not to celebrate the ceremony. Some of them think it's nice to do the ceremony and have a big feast, even if it's not necessary. Cera gets angry at them and storms off, complaining that they're all a bunch of idiots. After that, Cera and her father sing a song called "My Reality", where they boldly proclaim that they don't believe in anything supernatural. No, they only believe in things they can SEE. As a result of this worldview, they believe the Earth is flat, and that the sun rotates our planet. Uh...okay.

The ceremony is interrupted by a volcanic eruption. The nature-worshippers freak out, but it seems like their sun god is trying to kill them. Everyone works together to put out the ensuing fire. In the end, Cera and her father decide to celebrate the ceremony, even if they're skeptical about its purpose and origins.

I think the moral of the story is that religion is a bunch of baloney, but it's still a good idea for atheists to celebrate Christmas, because it's fun. Also, atheists are stupid for believing science is the end-all and be-all. Whether you're on the side of science or religion, you can find something that insults you in this episode. Thank you, dinosaur show, for perpetuating the myth that science and religion are incompatible!

1 comment:

LGelevator said...

It's a very special kind of thought process that can produce something equally offensive to both sides of a debate.