R4 . COLOR . 72 mins .
G . PAL
The Land Before Time series of animated features has been a roaring success since its inception. The adventures of these young dinosaur characters have captivated kids and adults alike. Testament to this is the release of Journey To Big Water, the ninth in a series that looks like it will continue for quite a while to come.
The stories always involve best friends Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Spike and Petrie, a group of young dinosaurs that always seem to end up in a mess and have to find a way out. They all live in the Great Valley and forever find themselves in trouble with dangers such as sharp tooths as well as natural disasters.
They called him Flipper - or Mo
This time around there has been a lot of sky water (rain) and this has created new water (flooding). Littlefoot is bored and wants to play with his friends, but they are all too busy so he goes to investigate the new water alone. He soon makes a new friend, a strange prehistoric dolphin type creature named Mo. Mo has been washed into the Great Valley new water by accident and longs to go home to the Big Water (the ocean). Littlefoot’s friends go looking for him, find him playing with Mo and they quickly all become friends.
Then, all of a sudden, there is a big earth shake (earthquake) and the friends are cut off from the Big Valley. They know their way home from Big Water so they decide to help Mo get home along the way and set off on their adventure. The one big problem is that Mo wasn’t the only creature to be washed into the Big Valley new water by the sky water. Will they get to Big Water safely? Will Mo make it home? Will the friends make it home to Big Valley?
We musn't panic!
This is the standard formula for this series of films and as far as young kids are concerned, it works. These are fun characters having fun adventures with an element of danger and morals thrown in, not to mention a collection of happy songs for kids to sing along with. These are the type of films that young kids will watch time and time again and considering there are so many available, this could take up most of their youth.
This series of films is a tried and trusted one and this most recent adventure is a continuation of this winning formula. There is no doubt the series will continue, the closing statement in the film is testament to that with the narrator announcing "Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Petrie and Spike knew in their hearts that there would be many more adventures."
This animated feature is presented in full frame and therefore is not 16:9 enhanced; it is, however, of the highest quality otherwise. Colours are a high priority with this type of film and the palette used here is vibrant. The image is sharp and there are no other problems to speak of. There are no subtitles supplied and although this would have been a great help for some of the dialogue, the target audience of kids probably won’t really care. Overall an excellent transfer that is close to faultless.
The sole audio track supplied is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix. Although it is a surround mix, there is little use of the rear speakers and when they are used this activity is quiet. The majority of the film is dialogue and song so it is of course kept across the front speakers, but the lack of rear speaker activity seems a waste. Subwoofer activity is also poorly utilised with scenes such as the earthquake missing out.
There are two extras with this release that are completely aimed at the very young child viewer. These are two interactive games entitled Ducky’s Deep Sea Discovery and Cera Goes Home. The first is a game where the viewer has to find the missing dinosaur eggs and the second is a simple maze where the remote is used to guide Cera home to her father. Young kids should get some enjoyment out of these games, but they probably won’t stay intrigued by them for too long.
Overall this is of equal quality to its predecessors and maintains the standard that has proven so successful for this series. The video transfer is excellent and the audio transfer suits its purpose, even if it does seem a little under-utilised. The extras are nothing special, but most kids will want multiple viewings of the film and this one is sure to get that.