The Land Before Time | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Land Before Time 

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Ironically, it is this Spielberg-Lucas collaboration--directed by Don Bluth, and scripted by Stu Krieger, Judy Freudberg, and Tony Geiss--not the Disney studio's new Oliver & Company, that comes closest to reviving the classic character animation of Disney in its heyday. In this case, what we get is a kind of dinosaur Bambi featuring an all-prehistoric cast. It's a tale about growing up as well as an adventure about a trek for survival. Reportedly, Spielberg found the original version of this too scary and violent, requiring expensive changes, and it must be admitted that some of the action sequences feel abbreviated--but the overall handling of landscape and character is well done, and some of the old Disney mysticism about parental and ancestral roots manages to shine through. Not a masterpiece, but a nicely crafted piece of animation. (Biograph, Chicago Ridge, Edens, Nortown, Orland Square, Ridge, Water Tower, Woodfield, Ford City East, Yorktown, Hillside Square, Norridge)

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