Don Bluth’s finest: The Secret of NIMH and Land Before Time

Anyone who was born or grew up in the 80’s knew how great this guy was with animated films…

we also know he was pretty good with the Disney tradition of… yeah, kids can take the scary and the depressing enough as long as its followed up by a happy ending…
I think I read that he left Disney to strike out on his own and has made an amazing name for himself

some would say, not so much after the 80’s… I love all of his stuff that I’ve come across, but admit you really can’t touch the classics…

it’s amazing how some movies stand the test of time, but I think its only fair that I address “NIMH” first because I only saw it for the first time a couple days ago…

not that I have wondered why it took me so long… maybe it just never occurred to me… but considering it was done in 1982, 30 years ago… just WOW… the animation was so good, so lively, so bright (and by contrast dark during the dark scenes)… and of course they’ve got some great characters too

I’ve only thought about the movie because I’d seen it listed a couple of times. Plus Nostaglia Critic noted it as his favorite Don Bluth film…
after seeing Land Before Time again for maybe the first time in over a decade… after the 6th movie came out, I guess I kinda stopped… knew all the movies by heart so there was no need to rewatch them

πŸ˜‰ not that’s gonna stop me from watching some other films over the next week or so… I’m gonna get a bunch out of the way, particularly the ones like this that kinda have me tearing up

It’s nowhere near as bad as Neverending Story… where the waterworks were kinda on and off from the half hour mark to maybe 5 minutes after a death scene… then at the very end :shrug: it was a happy ending and all that, but… yeah, nostalgia likes to stick it to me like a knife sometimes

I got through Land Before Time about as easily as breathing… the death scene had me reeling for maybe, I dunno… 30 seconds… then the credits, you know, can’t fight this stuff sometimes

What kinda drew me into “NIMH”… once I started watching, was the protagonist Mrs. Brisby and her red shawl…its such an iconic look that, you know, the kid in me responded to it automatically
I found it interesting how everyone she met asked if she was the widow of Jonathan, who apparently was a great hero…

I didn’t even know that was part of the storyline, that her being the widow of someone great would be a definition of character… its a first for me on the animated circuit and certainly something I haven’t heard in a movie’s plot in a long time, if ever… its an interesting concept, I must say πŸ˜‰

The story kind of goes is that her youngest son Timmy is sick with pnuemonia… coincidentally, its moving day for the mice… that coincides with when the humans mow the lawn.. he cannot be moved because its cold outside and that could kill him…
so Mrs. Brisby beseeches the help of the rats… who are apparently super intelligent… you’d think, all these animals are talking and pretty much anthropromophic, how are the rats special?

Along the way, she meets a crow named Jeremy, voiced by Dom DeLuise… may he rest in peace.. I know he was a comedian before his voiceover days, but he has such a great voice… I know him best as Tiger from the American Tail films… Jeremy was a klutzy crow always getting tangled in something, but man, such a lovable character
gets advice from the Great Owl… who kinda realizes she’s Jonathan’s widow, which explains why he doesnt eat her… as owls should

In the beginning, you see this old mystic going through a storybook, writing up a page… he seems to be the one pulling the strings and if you think about it, there are two sidse to that story

Nicodimas, the oldest and wisest of the rats… another really cool character… he enlists the rats to help her move her family… and apparently also uses her in making the rats independant of the electricity they stole from the humans…
the villian, who immediately made me think of Rasputian from Anastasia and Ratagan from The Great Mouse Detective…wants to continue living life as they do…

the visuals inside the rose bush where the rats live are pretty dark and scary and so vast, but then again, they’re mice and rats, of course it looks huge by comparison

the story with Jonathan was that he was with the rats in a laboratory called NIMH which apparently stands for National Institute of Mental Health
creepy…

the rats and mice were injected with a serum whose side effect was intelligence and the slowing down of aging… Jonathan not only helped the rats escape but he sacrificed himself by volunteering to drug the farmer’s cat Dragon so they can make their getaway

during the moving, of course, the villain wants to use the opportunity to take down Nicodimas, the only one standing in his way of keeping things how they are…
there’s an epic battle scene between him and Justin, the leader of the guard… another cool character… the way the villain gets defeated was pretty cool and at the last second, there’s an unexpected bit of assistance that puts the nail in his coffin

so everyone lives happily ever after… and Jeremy gets himself a girlfriend which is kinda nice

I saw some common themes here from film to film… Don Bluth seems to love working with mice and cats… and painting cats as villians… that’s probably why he created Tiger, who would go on to be a friendly cat

I also got to thinking… with the setup of NIMH, there are a few similarities to Watership Down… but I’ll take “NIMH” anyday

I’ve heard its a great movie, but I really don’t feel up to seeing Watership Down… ever…  because even though its full of rabbits, the subject matter is really dark…like in the “be warned, this isn’t a kids’ movie” sort of way… I don’t think I could take seeing rabbits being subjected to so much violence

the same reason I refuse to eat rabbit… I owned them, I grew up on Beatrix Potter… keep it kid-friendly, please & thank you

Considering the time it was when they made “NIMH”… the only thing in animation at that point, really, was Disney… and it really stacks up well to the Disney movies… might even surpass a couple of them…

I didn’t recognize any of the voice actors except for Dom DeLuise

I looked up Elizabeth Hartman (Mrs. Brisby) to see if she was related to Phil Hartman… who I know specifically as Troy McClure (per The Simpsons) and Gigi the cat from “Kiki’s Delivery Service”… and like Dom DeLuise, he had a career of his own in comedy before going into voiceover work

another grim ending to another person πŸ˜•
“Kiki” was his last movie so it was dedicated to him

apparently that last name isn’t unexclusive to tragedy… I could not believe it when I read it…

I’ve come across it a few times with a number of people while doing my research on IMDB… I’ve looked a couple up to see what else they did and what they’ve been up lately…

that’s how I found out about Jonathan Brandis’ suicide… I couldn’t believe it and still can’t… so whenever I watch the Neverending Story sequel, I kinda wish things had turned out better… apparently the story was that he did a part in a movie that got cut out and it would have been what got his career back on track…

I don’t have sympathy for him when I see the Full House rerun where his character tells DJ that she’s funny and smart, but Cathy Santoni is “so pretty” and thats why they were no longer a couple… ahhhh, JERK!

I’m glad I have one character where I can enjoy him and not have that negativity mixed in… πŸ˜• although it is the only thing I HAVE seen him in

Elizabeth Hartman, I scrolled up on her profile and it said “death by suicide”
My jaw HIT the floor so fast… my mind jumped to Judith Barisi and her tragic end… two actors isn’t enough for me to consider working on a Don Bluth film a curse… much like Poltergeist and some other films…

I read up further… apparently she became mentally ill (Margert Kidder style but not quite as “brutal”)… her psychatrist said he got a call that she was feeling unstable, kind of her final cry for help and she jumped to her death

man… and such a sweet character like Mrs. Brisby too… this world really sucks sometimes

 

I’ve had quite a few things come back to me while watching these older movies… of course I had to watch the previews… preview… before Land Before Time…
It was a freaking pizza hut commerical I’m like “I remember that”… but it was really fuzzy, the memory of it…
that was when Pizza Hut was COOL… these days, not so much, but thats what happens when there isn’t one around for at least 20 minutes… we dont really do Domino’s anymore either… we like DiGornio a little too much

I totally forgot that the beginning was all this different animation… kinda like evolution from EONS ago…
I remember reading that it was intended to have the look of the Fantasia sequence with the dinosaurs… one of my favorite sequences… πŸ˜• at least until the dinosaurs die, that tarpit scene is really hard to watch

so many cool sequences in Fantasia… it starts with music coming to life through vibrating animation… theres a Nutcracker suite sequence with snowflakes, fairies and such…
of course The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (man I bet so many people were disappointed when they found the film of the same name didn’t have Mickey Mouse anywhere… or even magical broom sticks… well maybe there was one, I dont remember… wasnt a great movie)
then it got better from there with the scene with the centaurs and Greek mythology (I based a prologue on that, such a cool sequence)… of course the ballet with the gators and hippos
then it ends on a somber note with Night on Bald Mountain

I really didnt like that scene when I was a kid cuz it was too dark… and after the darkness left, it was too spiritual for my tastes… I didnt feel like it had a place here, plus I was bored to death over it

anyway…

yeah, they planned to make it similar to that, but decided on voiceover work to make it… maybe more kid friendly? to set them apart from Fantasia and Disney? who knows really….

I’m thinking that maybe they had the right idea πŸ˜‰ either way

You have to marvel at the animation… it wasn’t as crisp as “NIMH” or as clear as later animated films… they could have easily been experimenting with new effects and such

of course a lot of nostalgia was rushing back and I was loving EVERY minute of it…
Ducky’s first appearance and another scene where all the flyers are fighting over a berry… I’ll humbly admit that I squealed for joy… there was too much cuteness to go around

Cera had always been my least favorite character… being a bully, judgemental, short-tempered and all that… but some of the earlier scenes with her, I thought she was great… but after a while, it was like nothing changed πŸ™„
interestingly, I just realized this in the credits… she had the same voice actress for the next 4 movies… everyone else changed… πŸ˜• although one was pretty obvious why, I’ll stop there

I was writing the other day (in a private entry) how Neverending Story had this death in it that was so traumatic when I was a kid… I was tearing up before he was even died… cuz I knew it was coming… really sad he only got so much of screen time, barely 5 minutes πŸ˜•

Littlefoot’s mom on the other hand… I couldn’t comprehend that when I was a kid… I vaguely remember blubbering to my mom “why did she have to die?”
and she kinda explained to me that parents cant always be together with their kids, its just the way it works sometimes

Nostaglia Critic questioned that and why that’s so sad for us when we’re kids when dinosaurs died forever ago

I was looking at the T-Rex scene and kinda scratching my head… going from reality for a second… how did she die in that fight? She got a chunk taken out of her, yeah… but other than exhaustion…………oooohhh… maybe it had to do with the fact these dinosaurs were on the brink of starvation while making this massive journey… DUH… I guess that makes sense now that I really think about it, lol

I guess I’ll watch the video again to see how he ranks those two deaths… based on my relapse time… Neverending Story would be more depressing in my book… more or less ruins a lot of the movie for me yesterday…

he also includes American Tail… which, yeah, that is depressing shit… the whole movie is about him trying to find his parents and actually they miss each other several times… the Critic was going crazy in one scene screaming at the TV “no, turn around turn around!” that was when they finally got back together

I didnt really see that movie until later, maybe when I was in 12, so it isnt quite the same as Land Before Time… I can’t make that nostalgic comparsion
same with All Dogs go to Heaven… didnt see that until years later and I still dont remember much of it… I’ll for sure pay attention to it now… ah, poor little Anna Marie… poor Judith…

okay, he got it right… Littlefoot’s mom was #9 and Neverending Story was #5

I thought about Charlotte’s Web as well… I guess it makes sense that’s on there too… I think my mom suggested I read it for a book report… I didn’t grow up on E.B. White like Mara Wilson’s character in “Mrs. Doubtfire”… great book, saw the 70’s cartoon, which is part musical with all the songs… 😎 it was really done well and yeah, its sad when Charlotte dies…
Wilbur crying makes me cry… I think that’s the one thing that gets you going…

someone cries with all the whimpering and stuff… you’re compelled to do the same
I’m kinda the same way about throwing up… I remember going with someone to the nurse’s office when I was in my 2nd year of 1st grade because he was sick and I felt a little sick for the same reason…
not that its the same anymore… I cough on a reflex in some movies that have vomit…
and how much I would say how The Exorcist freaked me out… the pea soup scene was the least of those worries… psychological warfare in my head, I didnt sleep that entire night… I remember being up all night and around 3 in the morning, I went downstairs and put on a movie

Land Before Time III, one of the hundreds of times I saw it and the other movies in that stretch of time… when the sequels started coming out, it was like 4-5 solid years of excitement over the next one… :sigh:

my interest started to lag a little bit with parts 5 and 6… the first of many voice actor debacles I’ve had to live through… then I got 7 and 8… I own 8 on DVD… I saw part 9 once… saw part 10 once, thought it was pretty great cuz we find out Littlefoot’s dad is still alive… the movie was all about this great longneck migration… where they symbolically keep the sun from falling from the sky…

great line, Littlefoot tells his friends about it (they might have tagged along, I dont remember, I think they witnessed the main event)… and Cera shook her head and said “my dad’s never gone live this down” or something like that

Cera’s dad and Littlefoot’s grandparents sometimes get along like neighbors that dont always get along… another great comparison would be either having to do with racism, like the Latinos and African Americans in Santa Barbara per “Freedom Writers”… or religious differences…
there’s a prejudice there from Cera’s dad’s POV… that wasn’t fully explained why that is… in the beginning of the movie, you get the impression that the different species of dinosaurs keep to their own kind… “it’s always been that way”…

but it kinda gets you wondering a bit…
it’s pretty obvious that Cera gets her hard-headedness from him… in more ways than one πŸ˜‰ she is a triceratops after all… I think I mean to say “hot-head”

I couldn’t believe myself when I was totally going ga-ga over the cute baby dinosaurs in this thing…
first it was Ducky, then it was all those little flyers…

then I spent the rest of the movie smiling with just about every line Petrie had

you forget some things after a number of years, but wow… I didn’t remember how long Littlefoot was grieving… it felt like a 10 minute chunk of the movie was devoted simply to that mourning period…
then Ducky comes along and everything is all better

omg, I couldn’t believe how much I was falling back in love with these characters… being somewhat of the designated leader, Littlefoot was always my favorite… here, not so much… he comes a bit more likable in the future sequels by a mile…
things aren’t quite as black and white as I remember, like Cera was the bossy one and he was always in the right… not true

Petrie was like so cool, just watching this again… and imagine, a pterodon that’s afraid to fly, can’t fly you always kinda have to have that in there somewhere, character flaws that go against the makeup of characters

of course before the movie is out, he learns how to fly… as he easily does in the rest of the movies πŸ˜‰

as Kelso said in the 70’s show Christmas special about Rudolph leading Santa’s sleigh, “this was a great moment in history”…
then I digressed during the Great Valley reveal… when they finally got there, like YEAH, WE MADE IT!

I’m not sure what moment I declared it… but I threw my arms up and surrendered… Land Before Time was the best Don Bluth movie EVER…
and is likely to give my other favorite animated movies a run for the money

in most cases, I’d say that all of my favorite movies are somewhere in my blog entries… scattered, whether I openly talk about the same movies all the time or certain quotes…

I don’t want to give myself away too much, though, that’s why I’m limiting entries to new movies I’ve come across and other stuff going on…

like rereading Breaking Dawn in, seemingly record time, before the movie comes out… I am unbelievably stoked to see the rest of the movie as well as the actors doing the talk show circuit… all the vampires… and Jacob

I’ve been able to get through this part of the book actually not minding Jacob much at all… I quite like him and even Leah is starting to rub off on me a bit πŸ˜‰

one thing I kinda noticed, though… aside from the fact that the book showed more of Jacob’s pack patrolling the Cullen house… Edward is a JERK in the movie… my god, I couldn’t believe the way Robert Pattinson was protraying him…
forget all the stuff that Edward is supposedly guilty of (only the people that read far too much into things to piece together he has exhibited stalker behavior)… and even forget the fact he kinda takes your heart and stomps on it in New Moon…

here, I really did not like him at all… the entire time in the book, Jacob kept saying how Edward was “the burning man”… like he looked like he was being burned at the stake, he was agonizing over Bella so much… the fact she was dying and he couldn’t do anything to change her mind (even enlisting Jacob to be her baby daddy didnt work, but of course thats just pushing it)…

that whole part in the movie, he is angry with Bella to where it almost feels like an abusive relationship, the way he acts around her… there’s a quote about them saying their vows, that they were meant to do things together and she made the choice to take herself away from him without him having a say in the matter…

wow… if he wasn’t so unbreakable, I’d almost want to kick his ass thinking about it

there are a number of things I disagreed with in the film adaptations… Eclipse comes up with the least amount of offences because that was the book that kinda put me to sleep the most, that was the hardest to get through because it felt like nothing happened…
and Jacob was being a pain and I wanted to kick HIS ass

Granted, Kristen’s acting in Breaking Dawn has been her best in the franchise… I’d only seen the movie, lets see… maybe three times… once in theaters and twice on DVD…
my gripe is that I don’t find her believable in maternal mode… from a visual standpoint, her condition is insanely obvious and she looks sickly and all that… but I really don’t believe she is passionate about staying to term… that the baby is an important thing she cannot live without… 
so getting through the movie after the first time, its hard for me to really get into it the way I’ve done with the book… she’s not even narrating in Part 2 and I still see and feel everything from her perspective… I will admit, it is a little strange not having her thoughts inflected on the narration, dont really feel quite as connected, but you know… the movie doesnt do justice to it…

I’m to the point where Edward can hear Renesme’s thoughts and Jacob’s is about to lose it because “I was counting on him to be on my side about this”…

yesterday I was trying to get to the point where the movie ends, but I didnt quite get there…

but yeah… Land Before Time… still amazing to this day… I still got very much into it… and I got to thinking that maybe I’ll watch the sequels again… 2-4 were great… and after that, it goes downhill… I’m just repeating myself

its all about the lovable characters, I think πŸ˜‰ that kept me going forward
the only thing I won’t look forward to as much is how they turned these movies into musicals… each with 3 musical numbers… do we really need to have those songs in there? they woulda been fine just the same… although I did love the song from part 4

which is far and beyond my favorite :shrug:
for each movie they introduce a new friend, thats somewhat of a reoccuring theme

although the only one who came back for a second appearance was Chomper, the little T-Rex that Littlefoot tried to raise from an egg they found… I’m still kinda down about that… it was a great segway for the 5th movie, for sure… bringing Chomper back into it and he has lines… cuz he’s not a baby anymore

I wrote to Universal and griped a tiny bit about the characters not aging… I was getting into my teenage years or they were around the corner and I was asking when that would be
I got a really cliched lined that “keep watching the movies and they’ll grow up with you”

sorry, I don’t buy it, guys

other new characters included bullies Hyp, Nod and Mutt in the third one
Cera’s nieces Dina and Dinah in the 6th one, plus Doc (voiced by Kris Kristofferson) the “Lone” Dinosaur… (I know, they went there… I didnt realize until now how badly cliched that was)

lets see… part 7 has these two rainbow faces… that kinda looked like Gallamimus (see Jurassic Park) but its hinted that they were aliens that coincided with the arrival of the “stone of cold fire” (comet)

part 8 introduced some spiketails… Spike’s kind and of course, although we try to work things out, he’s still Ducky’s brother so they stayed together

there was a little ichthyosaur named Moe in part 9… other than that I dont remember much

I mentioned a while ago that despite how mean she is shown to be on camera, CeCe had me thinking I had something of a girlcrush… like she’d be my type with her face, the overall look… fell out of love, if that really was what it was, when she dyed her hair blonde

I’ve gone into girl crushes a couple of times… going deeper with some more than others…

geesh, I’m gonna miss Zooey Deschanel next week… none of the shows will be on next Tuesday… for obvious reasons
she actually sang the National Anthem at one of the world series games… and other than cracking a little bit with the higher notes… she sounded pretty great 😎 that’s not a song for everyone, we all know that

sure I’d love her to take me through her closet and I’d try on some of her clothes to see if that “adorkable” look could work for me too… but I’d love to be as unconsciously free-spirited as her character Jess… πŸ˜‰ she’s great

hmm…
I’ll put it out there…

in part 4, “Journey through the mists”… Littlefoot’s “cousins” were coming through the great valley, they were nomads… because whenever they settle down somewhere, the land changes into something inhabitable…  finally they decided that they’d only stop in a place for a short time before going somewhere else (ironically, in the following movie, the dinosaurs had to leave the seemingly neverchanging Great Valley because it got attacked by locusts… geesh, so much for Forever Green)

anyway… among them was a longneck Littlefoot’s age named Ali…
the automatic conclusion I made was that we were gonna have maybe something like Bambi in the future… they’d get together and you know… that’d be the end of the series and it’d be a great ending… we never got that far… I don’t know if they even went beyond friends

she’s my first ever girl crush… which is even stranger cuz there’s an interspecies issue…
I felt for her cuz she was meeting Littlefoot’s friends and was shy around them because she’d only been around longnecks her whole life… how I feel about Cera is very back and forth, depending on how hot-headed she is… here she was just plain mean… because she didnt seem up to playing with them, she insisted that she was a snob instead of just plain shy…

I can kinda relate to that πŸ˜• I mean, I’m ridiculously shy when I don’t know anybody in a new place… hopefully people don’t think I’m a snob behind my back

yikes… during 4th grade I was kinda stuck on her, or rather she was stuck on my mind for a long time… that was when I started scribbling on the backs of my test papers… doodling rather… I was so in love with the series that yeah, I sketched a lot of the characters…
I still have those outlines that got sent to me when I wrote to Universal… I dont think I still could do it now, but man, those were the days

I think around the time the movies were starting to tank, PokΓ©mon filled that void… until the next thing came along… a neverending cycle

but I never forget that name… in fact had a dream way back when about a conquest I was on to track down Julianna Hansen, just to hear her voice… never did find her… πŸ˜• depressed the hell out of me when I found out that it was her only credit, she never did anything after that

she had an amazing voice for that character πŸ˜‰ and its kinda cool to know that we’re within a couple of years of each other… I’m under the impression that they changed voice actors so often because it was kids doing the voices…
except for Jeff [Glen] Bennett… who did Petrie in every sequel

so I’ve got a stack of VHS’s I want to get through… one of them likely tonight, I’ll see how things go…
It astonished the hell out of me that Land Before Time was only 69 minutes… thats SO short… in fact, it just barely constituted as a full-length film (which I define as something 60 minutes and longer)

the next thing after I get through all those is going through all the Twilight movies within the next couple weeks… my dad’s away on business so I won’t have to deal with him rolling his eyes and questioning every little detail that doesnt sit right with him

of course my mom’s gotten just as bad yelling at the screen with these movies, questioning some things that are out of place… watching Breaking Dawn that last time, it was like she wouldn’t shut up, especially when Bella is seemingly dead on the operating table

that scene didn’t go quite up to what I expected… there wasn’t enough spouting blood, not enough spurting… and WTF, Jacob wasn’t in the room at the time… that made absolutely no sense to me…

and how come he didn’t imprint right away? Did they have to lock eyes or something for it to work? Was it because she was covered in blood, so he really couldn’t see her?
But the imprinting scene itself was really cool… the sequence/montage where they were showing clips from Edward and Bella’s love story to that point…

That was one of the coolest moments in the entire series… right up there with watching the midnight premiere and the fans CHEERING whenever their favorites came on the screen the first time… Jacob’s fan girls came on first and of course it was a rollercoaster of a cheering session, kinda like doing the wave at a sports venue… whenever a new set of vampires appeared on the screen the first time

that was one of the coolest things EVER… then there was the first time we see Jacob phase into a werewolf… that was insanely cool… cuz I didn’t know what these werewolves would look like
geesh, with my affinity for wolves, I wonder sometimes why I wasn’t Team Jacob

but then again, there is the “love at first sight thing”… you never forget your first love, so of course Edward’s gonna win everytime…
man, I hate it that everytime I see/read something related to the series, I’m becoming more of a Jacob fan… I thoroughly enjoy being annoyed with him when he’s so anti-Edward

the only place they dropped the ball in Eclipse was with the character Bree… in the book, she was so vicious and kept asking the Cullens after they “captured” her why she couldn’t “have” Bella… that she wanted her… so insanely thirsty, being a newborn vampire… I kinda picture her blonde when I was reading the book actually… kinda the way I pictured Jessica Stanley…

that’s just a preview… I’m sure there’ll come a time where I will go Twi-Hard crazy on my movie blog and go into all the things about the adaptations that made sense and didn’t

but the last jaw-dropping coolest moment… was Bella’s transformaton… especially when they got to her face… she got so pale, her hair got so beautiful… I brought out a comment she made about Esme the first time she met her “Snow White in the flesh…” because she had that silent movie actress look

and of course, she was doing Snow White & the Hunstman, which I was stoked for… but I probably would have been a little more stoked if I didn’t see Mirror Mirror… both were great movies but I kinda wanted to take elements from the other when I was watching the one and kinda mix them together… that sort of thing…

so yeah, I’m off topic enough now where I can easily stop this entry…
I’ve already got 2 ideas for my first two movie blog entries… but that won’t be for another month

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