Making the Grades
The little group of dinosaurs is back for the third round and the good news is that someone has decided that Littlefoot, the star of the show, and his prehistoric friends can be used to teach children much more than the usual animated-for-tape spinoff is willing to take on.
In fact, when you read the back of the video box, you are left with the impression that the whole reason for this movie being made is to try and teach children and parents a good lesson. The plot is set in the usual Great Valley where everything is going better than swell -- until a meteorite falls just above the valley's edge causing the waters that feed the lush land to mysteriously dry up. The adults begin arguing over water rationing schedules, while the younger dinos look for ways they can solve the problem by working together and even prusuade the neighborhood bullies into doing some good.
It is rare that I would ever consider accusing a film of trying too hard to teach children morals and values. However, Land Before Time III seems to push these principles to the point where even young children may tire of having cooperation pounded into them. Another technique parents may want to note, is that the children are put in the position of knowing all the answers, while their parents appear unable to cope with the situation. This is a common attitude portrayed in many films which could reinforce to children that taking problems to parents is a waste of time.
But don't write this one off completely. We can hardly fault a movie on being a little pushy in telling children to get along and work together. The Land Before Time III is a film that can stimulate a good conversation on teamwork and listening to parents. Perhaps you could ask your children if their parents ever act like the dinosaurs in the movie. Beware of their answers!