The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze is the eighth film in the The Land Before Time series. It was originally released direct-to-video on December 4, 2001. The plot focuses on what happens when winter strikes the Great Valley. A subplot revolves around the character Ducky feeling upset with her brother Spike, and the events which occur after Spike befriends a boy from a wandering Spiketail herd, while another subplot focuses on Littlefoot's attempts to understand their teacher, Mr. Thicknose.
Although with limited merchandise, The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze proved to be much more of a critical success than had most of the prior straight-to-video sequels to the original The Land Before Time, and received many positive reviews, plus several award nominations.
English Voice Cast
- John Ingle as the narrator/Cera's Dad
- Robert Guillaume as Mr. Thicknose
- Aria Noelle Curzon as Ducky
- Rob Paulsen as Spike/Spiketail Leader
- Thomas Dekker as Littlefoot
- Anndi McAfee as Cera
- Jeff Bennett as Petrie
- Tress MacNeille as Mama Swimmer/Mama Flyer
- Susan Krebs as Tippy's Mother/Clubtail
- Jeremy Suarez as Tippy
- Kenneth Mars as Grandpa Longneck/Hollowhorn
- Miriam Flynn as Grandma Longneck
- Frank Welker as Mountain Sharptooth
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 Cera's Dad
- Urara Takano as Mama Flyer
- Kiyoshi Kawakubo as Mr. Thicknose
Note: The Japanese voice actors are appearing so far.
Ducky is upset with her brother Spike, for keeping her awake at night with his snoring (called "sleep rumbling" by the characters), and for eating her treestars. She tells Cera about her feelings, and confides that she does not know how to express them, to which Cera agrees to teach her. At the same time, the children are attending a school of sorts, in which they are taught by an old Pachyrhinosaurus named Mr. Thicknose, who professes to have been everywhere and seen everything. Littlefoot is eagerly questioning all the topics they cover, to the old dinosaur's irritation, and blows the top when he startles Mr. Thicknose into running into a tree, upon which a watermelon falls on his head. Mr. Thicknose complains to Grandpa Longneck about Littlefoot's behaviour, and Grandpa Longneck, knowing Littlefoot meant no harm, gently explains to him why he must be more respectful to Mr. Thicknose.
Meanwhile, as Ducky gives Spike the cold shoulder, Spike meets and befriends Tippy, a boy from a wandering Spiketail herd, who have recently arrived in the Great Valley. Ducky begins to miss Spike, as she watches him spend more and more time with this herd of his own species. One day, however, the entire Valley is surprised by an overnight snowfall (which the characters refer to as either "white sky sparkles" or "white ground sparkles"). While the children together have fun frolicking in the snow, the adults complain that Mr. Thicknose did not warn them about this sort of thing happening in the Valley, and suspect that he does not know as much as he claims.
As time wears on, the dinosaurs begin to notice the more horrific side to snowfall; the freezing temperatures and the lack of food growth. The spiketail herd offers to leave, as they consume more food than most species. The mother of Spike's new friend, Tippy, asks Mama Swimmer if she can take Spike along during the cold time, and Mama Swimmer decides that Spike should choose between staying in the valley, or leaving with them. Spike is unsure, so Ducky frustratedly tells him to go off. As he leaves, she immediately regrets her actions, and later sneaks away to follow the spiketail herd. When her friends find this out, they head off into the Mysterious Beyond to find her, but are interrupted by Mr. Thicknose, who tells them he will not let them go off there by themselves, and leaves with them. After several rough scrapes, including a chase from a sharptooth, and successfully finding Ducky, they come across a frozen pool of water, which they break by accident. Underneath the ice is warm water, and they notice that there is lush food nearby. While they relax in the water and feed, Mr. Thicknose confesses that most of his knowledge comes from secondary sources; he listened to the stories of the grownup travelers when he was a child, and in his adult years, he told those stories to the children in the valley.
Later, the group tries to contact the residents of the valley, to let them know about the safe haven they have found, but find that a snowfall has blocked them off from the valley. Ducky, remembering what Cera taught her, suggests that Cera get angry and riled up at the ground sparkles. Cera does so, and her enraged screaming causes the wall of snow to fall down, enabling the rest of the Great Valley herd to pass through.
Meanwhile, the Spiketail herd is starving, until Spike picks up the scent of the location the valley residents are in. He leads the spiketails there, and reunites with Ducky. However, after a few minutes, he falls into a deep part of the water, and as he is unable to swim, Mama Swimmer jumps in to save him. When she places him on dry ground again, Tippy's mother says that Spike should stay with his family, rather than her herd. Ducky promises to Spike that she will not get angry at him whenever he snores, ever again.
The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze sold more than three million copies upon its release in July 14, 2000.
Although Steve Rhodes of Rotten Tomatoes and the Internet Movie Database, who is a frequent critic of the The Land Before Time installments, has generally given low reviews on the films, he had more positive comments to give on this one. For The Big Freeze, he said that Mr. Thicknose was a likeable character, and that the song "Family" had an undeniable charm, although he again expressed disdain that the plot and script weren't sharper. Aaron Beierle of CurrentFilm.com said that The Land Before Time series is one of the few children's series still worth watching, and that this film was one of the better installments in the series. Jeremy Frost on UpcomingDiscs.com said that the film was leisurely, but with enough action to keep young audiences focused on the story.
Dale Dobson, on DigitallyOBSESSED.com, criticized Robert Guillaume's singing voice during "The Lesson", and also criticized the "awkward timing" in the animation, which he said is a problem with most television animation. He also said that The Big Freeze could teach some good lessons to children, and also provides characters and situations most children can probably relate to. In The Big Freeze's review on DVD Authority.com, it was said that the film would need a better voice cast, writers and animators.
Brian Webster, of Apollo Guide, said that The Big Freeze was essentially the same as the rest of the films in the series, but was pleased that it didn't go into depth with the issue of whether or not Spike's "real family" was the herd of Spiketails he had befriended, or the Parasaurolophus family (Ducky's family) who had raised him all his life. Mary Kalin-Casey, on Reel.com. objected to "The Mad Song"; saying that it's one thing to bottle up one's feelings when one is angry, but teaching children to pro-actively dispense their anger is another. She also describes the bonus features in the DVD as "repetitious", as several reuse the same music. DVD Verdict.com's review stated that the movie was better than The Stone of Cold Fire had been, and was worth looking into as a movie for entertaining children.
Parent Previews had good reviews on The Big Freeze; saying that while it still focused on teaching important life lessons to children, as a movie it managed to pack in more plot than the previous The Land Before Time movies did. In contrast, Ben Pollock on DVD.Net described it as "Heartwarming is one way to describe it, but most older viewers will find it boring and cheap."
British journalist M.J. Simpson, who's only other review relating to The Land Before Time is for The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, stated that he preferred the eighth film over the second, as it had nicer songs, and a good plot centralizing the social behaviour of the adults. He expressed dislike to what he saw as an implication, due to the smallness of the warm pool in the Mysterious Beyond, and the seemingly fewer population of dinosaurs seen in the film, that the Great Valley's ecosystem was beginning to collapse; despite there already being many more sequels after The Big Freeze when he wrote his review, in May 2006. As a footnote, he commented that he did not feel it right to have the character Cera featured with the other main characters on the DVD cover for the film, while on the video cover she is replaced with guest-character Tippy. He quoted, "This installment in the saga is much more about Duckie and Spike than Littlefoot and Cera, although Cera does get to sing a song and ultimately saves the day by yelling loud enough to cause a snowfall, so it’s a bit rotten that she has been cut from the most commonly used video sleeve. She needs a better agent."
The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze has a current rating of five stars out of ten on IMDB.com; based on 340 votes from the users.
For his role as Mr. Thicknose, Robert Guillaume received a DVD Exclusive Awards nomination for Best Animated Character Performance in 2000 (which was shared with Zeon Davush, the overseas supervising director, and Bunis Yang, the animation director in the overseas studio), although their nomination lost out to voice actor Scott Wolfe and supervising animator Andrew Collins, for Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (Wolfe provided the speaking voice for Scamp). Charles Grosvenor received a separate nomination that same year for Best Animated Video Premiere Movie. However, his nomination lost to Jesyca C. Durchin and Jennifer Twiner McCarron, for Barbie in the Nutcracker.
In 2002, Aria Curzon won a Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Voice-Over in The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze, as well as for the earlier films The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island, The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock, and The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire (In her role as Ducky). Gregory Cathcart, the music editor for The Big Freeze, received a Golden Reel nomination from the Motion Picture Sound Editors organization of the USA, for Best Sound Editing in Television - Music, Movies and Specials in 2002. The award ended up going to music editor David Bondelevitch, for Ruby's Bucket of Blood.
The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze was originally released to VHS and DVD on December 4, 2001. It was re-released in the "4 Movie Dino Pack, Volume 2" and the "9 Movie Dino Pack" on December 2nd, 2003. It's most current release was on February 7th, 2006, on DVD ("2 Dino-riffic Adventures"). In 2002, Universal Studios published a book-version of the story, simply titled Land Before Time 8 - Big Freeze.[Citation Needed]
- The music that plays in the background when the gang throws snowballs at each other is instrumental music from An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island and An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster.
- The music that plays when Littlefoot first sees the frozen sky water is called Snow, it is by Michael Tavera.
- Disney Channel (2000)
- Robert Guillaume, who voiced Mr. Thicknose in this film, was famous for his role as Rafiki in the Disney film The Lion King and Eli Vance from the popular 2004 video game Half-Life 2.
- This was the second time Spike has ever spoken; he shouts "Mama!" when he falls into the water.
- This was the first Land Before Time movie in which the closed captioning performer is the WGBH Media Access Group. This group was in the VHS version, but the DVD version used the same SDH captions as the previous sequels; this film was released before the first five sequels were released on DVD.
- This is the first film in the series which did not feature a Roman Numeral to state the number of the sequel, on the film's cover art for VHS and DVD, as the design of the front covers for the videos was changed. For later DVD releases the cover art design was changed to match.
- This was the first in the series to have shading digitally mapped onto the characters, as the result of a more advanced digital ink and paint system.
- This is one of only a few sequels in which the animators follow the classic sharptooth design from the original movie.
- Rica Matsumoto, the Japanese voice of Cera, is also the Japanese voice of Ash Ketchum on Pokémon.
- In Mr.Thicknose's flashback, once of the children he is talking to is a Triceratops with a color scheme almost identical to Tria's. It could be possible that Mr. Thicknose also taught Tria when she was younger.
- This is the fourth film in which Ducky cries.
- When the Sharptooth is chasing Littlefoot and Cera up the snowy slope, it looks very similar to the Great Earthshake sequence from the first film; when the original Sharptooth is trying to get at the two as they are slipping into a chasm.
- On current digital printings and STARZ and HBO airings/streaming platforms, there have been a few brief alterations to the film. For example, during the song The Lesson, when Mr. Thicknose looks at his reflection in the hot water while singing the lyrics "Everyone wants to be the center of the circle", the ripples are now missing.
- Plothole: Ducky and Spike's mother tells Tippy's mother that there were no other spiketails in the Great Valley when she took Spike in as her own, but other stegosaurs have been seen in the Great Valley in the past sequels; some even having a few minor speaking roles. She might have meant, however, that there were none at the time, but some arrived later on.
- Plothole: Early on in the film, when Ducky begins to ignore Spike, and when Spike falls through the deep ice near the end of the film, Ducky incorrectly states that he cannot swim. Sure enough, after calling for their mother, he quickly sinks. Spike can be seen swimming throughout most of the series, even after this sequel was released, and is in fact shown to be just as good at swimming as Ducky.
- When Tippy's mother states that she'll bring Spike back from his first visit to the Spiketail herd "before the Great Circle leaves the sky", the weather is overcast, and the sun not visible through the clouds. The next scene, however, shows a relatively sunny day. This could likely be within the same day.
- The night of the big snowstorm, Ducky is seen sleeping with four other siblings. In the earlier scene when Tippy's mom and Ducky and Spike's mother interact for the first time, Ducky is seen with only three siblings. The latter is also true the morning after the snowstorm.
- Music error: When Topps is calling for Cera, just like the other parents, who are calling their children that had disappeared, the music builds up, but then the track is cut off abruptly, and is replaced by the opening of The Rescue/Discovery of the Great Valley.
- Recurring characters:
- Species Debuts:
- ↑ "Never Land" Reverses Course for Disney. Tom K. Arnold, USA Today. February 14th, 2002. Retrieved on March 14th, 2009.
- ↑ Steve Rhode's review on The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze www.rottentomatoes.com - Steve Rhode's review Retrieved on April 23rd, 2008.
- ↑ Aaron Beierle's review of The Big Freeze www.currentfilm.com Retrieved on April 23rd, 2008.
- ↑ Jeremy Frost's review on The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze upcomingdiscs.com Retrieved on April 23rd, 2008.
- ↑ Dale Dobson's review on The Big Freeze www.digitallyobsessed.com Retrieved on April 23rd, 2008.
- ↑ Review of The Big Freeze on DVD Authority.com www.dvdauthority.com Retrieved on April 23rd, 2008.
- ↑ Brian Webster's review on The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze www.apolloguide.com Retrieved on April 23rd, 2008.
- ↑ Mary Kalin-Casey's review of The Big Freeze www.reel.com Retrieved on April 23rd, 2008.
- ↑ The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze at www.dvdverdict.com Retrieved on April 24th, 2008.
- ↑ Review of The Big Freeze on www.parentpreviews.com Retrieved on April 24th, 2008.
- ↑ Ben Pollock's review of The Big Freeze www.dvd.ne.au Retrieved on April 24th, 2008.
- ↑ British journalist M.J. Simpson's review of The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze, on his official website. (May 2006.) Retrieved on December 15th, 2008.
- ↑ The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze at the Internet Movie Database.
- ↑ 2nd DVD Exclusive Awards Ceremony of page at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on December 15th, 2008.
- ↑ Young Artist Awards Ceremony of 2002 page at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on December 15th, 2008.
- ↑ Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA, awards ceremony of 2002, page at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on December 15th, 2008.
- The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze at the Internet Movie Database.
- The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze at Allmovie.com
- The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze trailer at Video Detective.com