My brothers and I usually watch old cartoons and movies from our childhood. Yesterday we saw a bunch of clips related with the next holidays in Youtube, like The Flintstones Save Christmas, Disney's A Christmas Carol & Baby Smurf's First Christmas. Then I suggested we saw The land before time (1988).
I don't know if you ever saw this one, but it's like the predecessor of Bambi and the antecedent of The Lion King (totally ripped off several scenes ideas) in terms of making you cry out of killing the parent of the little, helpless protagonist.
I remember being a kindergarten kid and watching this movie from a rented vhs, in a winter afternoon at my old house. I remember the baby dinosaur Little Foot (Piecito in Spanish), his cherished star leaf, his mom dying after battling with a ferocious, dark "Sharptooth". And the voices and their personalities and attitudes were all in my mind, only I had forgotten about them. You cry in the dramatic parts because of a mixture of things: it's like seeing suffer an old friend and also it's connecting with a part of a period of time that is irremediably gone.
Littlefoot's mother: Dear, sweet, Littlefoot, do you remember the way to the Great Valley?
Littlefoot: I guess so. But why do I have to know if you're going to be with me?
Littlefoot's mother: I'll be with you. Even if you can't see me.
Littlefoot: What do you mean I can't see you? I can always see you.
After the death of some of their relatives and the physical changes on Earth that separated them from the surviving adults, Little foot and his new dinosaurs friends (adorably awkward most of them) have to continue their journey in the search of The Great Valley, a place where there's still vegetation and water to survive. This film is treated in a very adult way: the terrible loss of Little Foot it's not a reason for everyone to be nice to him or to sing Hakuna Matata (there's no singing in this movie). It's real because attitudes of his friends (like not believing in the path Little Foot learned from his mom) or childish comments from the irritable triceratops Cera ("she was stupid") can be devastating to the poor orphan (and the audience).
Now I know that three important names stand out in the making of this film: prestigious animator Don Bluth, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. The marvelous music (that doesn't make it easy for you to stop crying) was composed by James Horner. I leave you with "Whispering Winds" theme.