Making the Grades
Video only sequels seem to be the rage these days, and the folks at Disney showed how you can make a lot of money on a Saturday morning quality production, as Return Of Jafar still rings in sales at a hectic pace. Fortunately, and very surprisingly, The Land Before Time II is a much better than usual effort at cashing in on the sequel silver.
If you have problems remembering the first Land Before Time, you may want to rent it along with this one. It featured a group of small dinosaurs that had been separated from their parents and were forced to find their way across what seems like miles of barren plateaus and lava spewing mountains. But the movie does manage to tell a warm story about a small dino called Littlefoot, and how he had to follow his mother's spirit to the Great Valley.
In the sequel, the dinos are now living happily in the valley oasis they were searching for in the first movie. However, things start to go wrong when the kids disobey their parents and wander into the "mysterious beyond." Their intentions are good, as they chase after a couple of ridiculous egg thieves, but they make all the wrong choices. The writers help save the day, though, as they show why it's important to listen to your parents and go to bed on time.
There are still many flaws to this movie, and a few slightly scary scenes with a T-rex chasing the dinos. And don't expect animation quality equal to the first Land Before Time that was directed by Don Bluth. However, this film may be a good choice for a rental one evening. You may find that it can work well with small children, enabling you to ask them questions about how they would handle a situation similar to the one the dinosaurs were in. Hopefully your kids will learn to call 911, and leave the chasing of thieves to the police.