Saturday, March 19, 2016

Land Before Time: Through the Eyes of a Spiketail

Here's another DVD review!

Through the Eyes of a Spiketail is a Spike-based episode. Normally, Spike never talks, but in this episode, we get to hear what he's thinking at all times. He, um...sort of sounds like a Muppet, which explains why he doesn't talk.

Amusingly, Spike doesn't understand what his friends are saying. His English vocabulary is limited to food and people's names. Everything else is just random grunting to him. I liked that. I also liked seeing him do a running commentary on what the others are doing. "Are they fighting again? Jeez!"

The story was that our heroes want to find a particular fruit, in a remote, snowy location. They are too busy fighting to finish the job successfully, and Spike finds the food for them. The Land Before Time wiki says this is the highest-rated episode of the series, and I agree that it's very good.

Stranger From the Mysterious Above is not as good. Spike accidentally slides down a tunnel, to an underground cave. Prehistoric beavers mistake Spike for a god. They ask him for advice, worship him, and they're overjoyed when he (accidentally) defeats the evil monster terrorizing their village. It was kind of funny, but since Spike can't talk, and he didn't know what was going on, this storyline was kind of one-sided.

Also, prehistoric beaver dinosaur religion. Not something you see everyday.

Meanwhile, Mr. Three Horn and Mr. Thicknose argue over who will do the best job of rescuing Spike. This goes on for, like, ten minutes. The kids realize the adults are worthless, and they make a vine-rope to pull Spike to safety.

March of the Sand Creepers is the worst episode on the DVD. The Great Valley is invaded by CGI crabs. Our heroes find the one crab that speaks English, do a bunch of pointless chores for the crab, then it tells all the other crabs to go back home.

The subplot is about Ducky trying to stop the crabs from being stepped on. This highlights a problem with the series in general: lack of direction. In the first part, she protects the crabs. In the second part, she protects the crabs. In the third part, she protects the crabs. In the fourth part, she protects the crabs. Nothing changes. And to make matters worse, parts 2 and 3 were just an excuse for Ducky to recycle songs from the movies, with worse lyrics.

Song recycling hasn't been too good with this series, for two reasons. One, when they changed the lyrics, it's obvious the priority was put on what words rhyme, as opposed to what words make sense. Two, the new lyrics don't always have the same number of syllables as the old lyrics, so the singers are forced to stretch out single-syllable words as two-syllable words, and vice-versa.

The Forbidden Friendship. A better episode! The stegosauruses from The Big Freeze are back. They get into a fight with the locals about the food supply, and the two groups decide to never talk to each other again. That's bad news for Spike, who wants to play with his little buddy Tippy. You know, the stegosaurus that everyone thinks is a girl, when he's not.

The kids play with each other, even though the parents forbid it, and they end up finding more food. The adults realize they were being silly, and they should have cooperated like the kids did. I notice Mr. Three Horn is getting a lot of screentime in these episodes, compared to the movies, where Littlefoot's grandparents are the designated adults. He's one of my favorite characters, so I don't mind having his role get expanded beyond "grumpy adult villain".

No comments: