Reasons why this was my favourite film as a child:
Male and female protagonists can be friends without promise of romance.
Arguments among friends which are overcome by working together. Then they don’t rub in that one made a mistake, they just move on from it.
A single parent family becomes a no parent family, then grandparents do a great job of raising the kid.
Accepting loss, and dealing with it in a realistic way. Moving through anger, denial, hope, grief, and acceptance.
Seeing that foolish actions can have serious consequences.
Compassion in some of its gentlest and most subtle forms. The berry, protecting the tree star, sleeping in a group for warmth and reassurance.
‘We never do anything together’ - bridging the gap between species, genders, and ages. Proving that no matter what they look like, kids are kids, and they can be friends.
Actual personalities and flaws. Cera is stubborn and proud, Ducky uses her childish humour and liveliness to hide her pain from losing her siblings, Spike is a baby, but fond enough of his companions to find bravery, Petrie is defensive and self important to compensate for his inability to fly, and his fear. Littlefoot takes the role of the leader because he cherishes the lives of others, and knows the stinging loss they’re all feeling.
Also because it breaks my heart every fricken time.
Hypsilophodon was so smol! I don’t think the reality of it had ever dawned on me before that point. Also, so, in Land Before Time III, a teenage Hypsilophodon taunts Little Foot and sings a song about “when you’re big you can push all the little ones around” and -
Reasons the whole Land Before Time series is incredibly important and awesome
Even if the sequels aren’t grim as hell and don’t leave kids emotionally scarred
Teaches kids that we’re all equal and have anti-racism and anti-any kind of discrimination messages
Shows that it is usually adults who are the discriminatory ones and kids are fine until their parents teach them otherwise. Also that it is up to kids to make the difference when adults are “set in their own ways”.
One of the main characters is canonically neurodivergent. Spike was literally created to appeal to mentally disabed kids.
And none of the characters ever try to get him to change or act like them or differentiate them from him. (He doesn’t look like us, he doesn’t eat like us, yes but he still likes to play the way we do~) He’s one of the gang and they love him for who he is.
Even when they find out he can talk they never pressure him into it, Ducky says he can talk when he wants to, and the point is never pushed again. Wow Spike is so important my beautiful autistic non-verbal baby I’m tearing up.
Also Spike is happily adopted!! And his mum loves him like the rest of her kids! But sometimes wonders if he should grow up in his own culture and wants what’s best for him and doesn’t stop him when he leaves with the other Spike tails in VIII wow A+ adoption.
Single parent families!!
Grandparents raising their grandchild and treating them like their own son.
Speaking of which the Grandnecks are SO AWESOME do you know how many Sharpteeth these two old people beat up in the series?? It is a lot. They are the most badass couple ever. And also adorable.
How Cera develops from “Threehorns are so much better than Longnecks” to “Littlefoot is my FRIEND and if you insult him I WILL FUCK YOU UP”
(possibly not in exactly that wording)
Teaches kids that parents do not always know what’s best for you and teaches parents that too.
“Yelling is no way to teach your child what is right or to show that you care.”
Although there is so much of parents (and grandparents) caring for their kids and showing that parents are there to look after you and are incredibly important.
But also mixed with the message that adults might claim to know better than you but this isn’t always the case, although it doesn’t make them bad people.
And sometimes you have to follow your gut instinct than your parents’ rules. Seriously these films are so important
Deals with terminal illness (that is cured by special yellow flowers)
In one film there is an orphan who looked after younger orphans until they were all adopted and was essentially aged out of the foster care system. He’s very bitter.
(And he ends up happily adopted)
PTERANO who is the best anti-villain (or possibly anti-hero) ever
He also has PTSD and is so well written
Not a lot of unnecessary gendering of the dinos
I mean Littlefoot has longer eyelashes than Cera.
And a few characters whose genders never get mentioned at all everyone can be trans and it’s so great
Mr Threehorn almost always has a good point, he just goes completely the wrong way in getting it across and he’s a fantastic character.
SUE who is the biggest sweetie in the universe and incredibly nice and a little shy. And steps on crocodiles for fun.
People hate the Yellowbellies but I get a lot of autistic metaphors out of them. I mean they’re not great at looking after themselves in some situations, but Littlefoot discovers they have their own survival techniques that he doesn’t have and their own way of looking at things and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The Yellowbelly “wise one” is non-verbal and also makes friends with Spike and it’s the cutest ever.
Shorty thinking Cera is awesome. The most fragile ego in the world validating the other most fragile ego in the world.