The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water is the ninth film in the animated Land Before Time series. Produced and directed by Charles Grosvenor, with a score composed by Michael Tavera and an archival soundtrack composed by James Horner, it was originally released direct-to-video and DVD on December 10, 2002. In the movie, Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike befriend a mischievous Opthalmosaurus named Mo, who has been stranded from his home in the Big Water by recent heavy rains. When none of the grownups offer any assistance, the children decide to take him home on their own.
The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water was well received by the critics, and received nominations for several awards. Along with being re-released several times, the movie also spawned a PlayStation video game.
English Voice Cast
- John Ingle as the Narrator/Mr. Threehorn
- Kenneth Mars as Grandpa Longneck
- Miriam Flynn as Grandma Longneck/Diplodocus Mom
- Thomas Dekker as Littlefoot
- Anndi McAfee as Cera
- Aria Noelle Curzon as Ducky
- Rob Paulsen as Spike/Mo
- Tress MacNeille as Mama Swimmer/Mama Flyer
- Jeff Bennett as Petrie
Japanese voice cast
- Minami Takayama as Littlefoot
- Rica Matsumoto as Cera
- Satomi Kōrogi as Ducky
- Yūji Mitsuya as Petrie
- Sailor King as Spike
- George Nakata as Mr. Threehorn
Note: The Japanese voice actors are appearing so far.
The Great Valley has been experiencing a heavy "skywater" for several days, and Littlefoot grows impatient, waiting for the bright circle (sun) to shine. When it does, he goes to find his friends, but they are all preoccupied; Cera and her father are moving a log which rolled onto their nest, Ducky, Spike, and their family are relocating their nest, and Petrie has come down with a cold. Feeling bored, Littlefoot decides to explore on his own, and discovers that the "sky water" created a large "new water" in the Great Valley.
Though the adults advise against approaching it, Littlefoot goes back to the water the next day, to investigate a mysterious voice in its direction. When there, he meets the caller: a young, fun-loving, swimmer (Opthalmosaurus) named Mo, who invites him to play. In the meantime, his friends overhear him playing, and run to join. Littlefoot excitedly tells them that he and Mo just became "mud brothers", and they question Mo's whereabouts. When Littlefoot sees that Mo has disappeared, Cera becomes convinced that Mo is imaginary. Petrie assures Littlefoot and the others that imaginary friends are all right, at which point Mo reappears.
After being introduced to the others, Mo informs them he is from the Big Water (ocean), and explains how he ended up in the Great Valley; when the sky water caused a rise in the Big Water, it flowed over high cliffs into the valley, carrying him away with it. Convinced that he is alone, he is startled to find a sharptooth swimmer (Liopleurodon) making his way towards the gang. After Mo manages to stop him from doing the children harm, Littlefoot decides to ask the grownups to help in returning Mo to his home. The grownups refuse, due to the danger of helping a strange creature from outside the Great Valley, and after an earthshake (earthquake) separates them from the rest of the valley, Littlefoot and the others decide to return Mo on their own.
On their way they encounter an obstacle: a large boulder in the water, which Mo must jump over. Later, Ducky falls into a nest of Diplodocus eggs, and after explaining their presence to the mother (referred to by Ducky as "Mrs. Mama"), she lets them spend the night. The next day, when they make off again, they discover that they are nearing the Big Water when the water starts to taste salty. Later, they encounter the sharptooth swimmer (who had escaped from a wall of rocks imprisoning him in a cave, after the earthshake) for the final time, and Mo appears to sacrifice himself to save them.
The next day, they find that Mo is all right, and he informs them that the Sharptooth Swimmer stopped chasing him when he smelled something in the distance. Littlefoot inhales in the same direction, and realizes that the Sharptooth Swimmer returned to the Big Water. When they reach it themselves, Mo reunites with his pod, then pleads with the gang to stay, but Littlefoot insists that he and the others must return to the Great Valley. Mo offers to show him his home before they leave, and Littlefoot is surprised by the beauty of the undersea world, before he slips and falls into it. The Gang heads near the location where Littlefoot was looking, worried for his safety, while Littlefoot takes a wonderful swim while viewing the amazing underwater world. However, he quickly ran out of oxygen during the swim and Mo takes him to surface. When on land again, Littlefoot tells the gang that the water world is amazing. and the others promise they will always be friends with Mo, and then return home.
The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water was received considerably well by the critics. In the film's review on DVD.net, it was said that like the other films in The Land Before Time series, The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water followed a winning formula, which consisted of "fun characters, fun adventures, good morals and lessons, and happy songs for young children to sing along with". James Anthony on Webwombat.com rated the film's overall quality as 65% out of 100, and said that it was likely to be fun for kids, and non-offensive to adults. He also praised the songs, and that Donny Osmond sang No One Has to be Alone. In the Walker County Messenger's review of Journey to Big Water, the films in the series were each described as teaching a valuable lesson to children; this film's lesson was about courage. It also said that the film had been called "71 minutes of fun", and would make a good Christmas stocking stuffer. On IMDB, the film though was less received, with a 5.1 rating with 577 votes. On Rotten Tomaotes, there are no critic reviews, but the film has a 54% audience rating of 42,650 votes.
Thomas Dekker received a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role in 2003, for voicing the character Littlefoot in The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water. Also in 2003, singer Donny Osmond and songwriters Michele Brourman and Amanda McBroom received DVD Premiere award nomination for Best Original Song, for the end credits version of "No One Has to be Alone", which lost to Jennifer Love Hewitt and Chris Canute for the song "I'm Gonna Love You" from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. Brourman and McBroom were nominated for Best Original Song again in 2003, this time together with performers Aria Noelle Curzon, Anndi McAfee, Thomas Dekker, and Jeff Bennett, for the song "Imaginary Friend". Michael Tavera was nominated for Best Original Score, for his composition for the film, but lost to Arnie Roth for Barbie as Rapunzel. Charles Grosvenor was nominated for Best Animated DVD Premiere Movie, but lost to Hiroshi Saotome and Chris Henderson for The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. Voice actor Kenneth Mars character animation artist Bunis Yang were nominated for Best Animated Character Performance, for the character Grandpa Longneck, although the award went to voice actress Anjelica Huston, animation directors Gino Nichele and Sebastian Brodin, and character designers Jean Gillmore and Sean Newton, for the character Gothel from Barbie as Rapunzel.
Also in 2003, The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water garnered Universal Cartoon Studios an Annie nomination for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Home Video Production, although the award went to Sparkling and Nelvana Limited's Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun.
The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water was originally released to VHS and DVD on December 10, 2002. On December 2nd, 2003, it was released to VHS and DVD again, in the "9 Movie Dino Pack"; this marked the film's last VHS release. It was released to DVD again on February 7, 2006, in the "2 Dino-Riffic Aventures" package. The movie's most recent release is in the "Carrying Case DVD with Fun Activity Book - 2 Dino-Riffic Adventures - Universal Watch on the Go", on August 5, 2008. In November 2002, a video game based on the movie was released from PlayStation, titled The Land Before Time: Big Water Adventure.
References in media
- In the seventh episode of the thirtieth season of the Danish television series Troldspejlet, host Jakob Steglemann reviews the VHS release of The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water.
- The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water is referenced on page 205 of the 2005 educational book Media now: understanding media, culture, and technology, by Joseph D. Straubhaar and Robert Larose.
References to media
- The Liopleurodon's design resembles that of the one in the Walking with Dinosaurs episode "Cruel Seas".
- One of the Imaginary Friends in the song vaguely resembles King Gator from another work of Don Bluth, All Dogs Go to Heaven, in which it featured in a musical number so out of place and sudden, that the term "Big Lipped Alligator Moment" is now used to describe a scene that has nothing to do with the plot, comes out of nowhere, is over the top, and is never mentioned again in the movie when it ends. In fact, some fans consider the "Imaginary Friend" song to be a "Big Lippled Alligator Moment".
- The scene in which Mo jumps over Littlefoot down in front of the short waterfall spoofs the famous scene from Free Willy, in which Willy the Orca jumps over Jesse down into the ocean.
Like all previous sequels, this film was scored by Michael Tavera. This was the last movie in The Land Before Time film series to use James Horner's score from the original The Land Before Time, despite Michael Tavera's rearrangements of Horner's original themes still being heard in some shots of The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses ("If We Hold On Together" is played for the last time in the scene where the gang reach the Big Water).
The music that plays in the background when the gang cool off is the cheese factory scene music from from An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island. This is the second and last time the music is used in the series, after The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze.
The songs are written by Michele Brourman and Amanda McBroom. The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water was the first movie in the series which contained more than three songs, with the use of the musical number "Big Water", from The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island, (for which Brourman and McBroom also collaborated on the songs).
- 1: Chanson D'Ennui - Translated from French, the title means "Song of Boredom".
- 2: Imaginary Friend- Notable as possibly the only moment when the characters play any sort of instrument (I this case, Petrie playing the shells of a trio of passing turtles like drums as the intro to the song)
- 3: Big Water - A reprise of the song from number 5. This one comprised of the first verse, followed by another new verse.
- 4: No One Has to Be Alone - This song is known as "You Never Have to Be Alone" in some countries.
- Disney Channel (2003)
- This is the second Land Before Time film to be released on December 10th. The first is The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists.
- The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water was released the same year that Universal Studios released The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure and The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving on DVD for the first time.
- Littlefoot uses the term "sky colors" to refer to a rainbow in this film. However, the term rainbow was used in The Stone of Cold Fire to describe the "Rainbow Face" species.
- This movie marks the first appearance of regular Rainbow Faces, unlike the what appear to be extra-terrestrials disguised as Rainbow Faces in The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire.
- The scene where Littlefoot wishes out loud that his mom had given him a brother to play with is noted to be the second time in the series Littlefoot actually refers to his mother since the original, the other time being when he refers to her in the final verse of "Always There", from The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island. Ironically and coincidentally this became a spoiler to the later appearance of Shorty who would later become Littlefoot's adopted brother in The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration which is a sequel to The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water.
- This movie marks the first time eggs are computer-animated in a Land Before Time film (The eggs are shown upclose when the gang find Ducky in Mrs. Mama's nest). Hand-drawn elements are mapped onto each of the eggs in the later scene where they hatch. The log Cera and her father are pushing at the beginning of the film is also computer-animated.
- The Internet Movie Database once mistook The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire character Sierra (voiced by Jim Cummings) to be in this film, but he has since been removed from the cast list.
- This is the fourth time Spike sings in the series; he can be heard humming during the song "Big Water".
- This is the first film in which nobody cries.
- This is the only film without a walking Sharptooth.
- This is the second film with a Swimming Sharptooth as an antagonist, The Mysterious Island being the first.
- In the DVD special features for the movie, Petrie is incorrectly referred to as a Pterodactyl, and Ducky is referred to as a Parasaurolophus, which contradicts the Sing-Along Songs video which calls her a Saurolophus.
- When Grandpa Longneck exclaims "Come, everyone. I sense more skywater is about to fall", Petrie's mother has her son's coloration.
- When Littlefoot explores the wildlife and scenery underneath the ocean, two seahorses are shown. Seahorses shouldn't exist in the late Cretaceous Period, rather, they emerged during the Neogene Period.
- Recurring characters:
- One-off characters:
- Species Debuts:
- Littlefoot: (Regarding the rain) I wish it would stop.
- Grandma Longneck: Oh Littlefoot, it will stop; it always does. (Lightning threshes through the sky) Although I'm beginning to have my doubts.
- (As Littlefoot drinks water, Mo blows blubbles onto his face, in the form of a beard. He then moves his own head through the remaining bubbles, and rises to show Littlefoot.)
- Mo: Now Mo have bubble face, too!
- Cera: (Panicking over the crab on her horn) Let go, let go, let go!!!
- Mo: (Rapid squawking. The crab lets go...)
- Littlefoot: Wow, good going, Mo!
- Petrie: Me want to learn to squeak like that! It sure come in handy!
- Ducky: What did you say to it, Mo?
- Mo: (Repeats the squawking)
- Cera: Uh, right, which means?
- Mo: Let go!
- Cera: Oh, well, yeah! I knew that!
- Mrs. Mama: (Realizing the gang are not a threat to her eggs) Why, you're not much more than babies yourselves!
- Cera: Not much more than babies? Why I'm practically all grown up!
- ↑ http://www.haushoej.dk/product.asp?product=14077
- ↑ The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water review at www.dvd.net.au Retrieved on June 6th, 2008.
- ↑ James Anthony's review on Journey to Big Water at www.webwombat.com.au Retrieved on June 6th, 2008.
- ↑ The Walker County Messenger's review of The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water. December 18th, 2002.  Retrieved on October 8th, 2008.
- ↑ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0345543/
- ↑ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/land_before_time_9/
- ↑ The Young Artist Awards ceremony of 2003, at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on May 23rd, 2009.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 The first DVD Exclusive Awards ceremony of 2003, at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on May 23rd, 2009.
- ↑ The Annie Award's ceremony of 2003, at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on May 23rd, 2009.
- ↑ Amazon.com: The Land Before Time: 2 Big Dino-Riffic Adventures Carrying Case: Land Before Time: Movies & TV
- ↑ The Land Before Time: Big Water Adventure at Gamezone.com. Retrieved on May 25th, 2009.
- ↑ Media now: understanding media, culture, and technology, by Joseph D. Straubhaar and Robert Larose. Edition: 5, illustrated. Published by Cengage Learning, 2005. (ISBN 0534647081/ISBN 9780534647087). Page 205. Retrieved on May 25th, 2009. 
- The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water at the Internet Movie Database.
- Journey to Big Water at All Movie Guide.
- Journey to Big Water at Movie Tome.com.
- Trailer on New York Times.com