The Land Before Time IV: Journey through the Mists is a 1995 American direct-to-video animated adventure musical film produced by Universal Animation Studios (formerly known as Universal Cartoon Studios) and directed by Roy Allen Smith and the fourth film in the Land Before Time series. It was the last film in the series to be directed by Smith, and the last to feature any of the cast from the original The Land Before Time (1988), with voice actress Candace Hutson departing after voicing the main character Cera in this film.
The plot of the movie involves a herd of longnecks, who are cousins of Grandma and Grandpa Longneck, paying a visit to the Great Valley, among them being a young female longneck named Ali, who befriends Littlefoot and leads him with the other main characters into her homeland, the Land of Mists, to search for a flower that will cure Littlefoot's grandfather of a recent illness.
Although The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists remains one of the more popular Land Before Time films among fans of the series, it received mixed to negative reviews with most of them considering the plot and characters to be underdeveloped. Despite this, the movie received two Annie award nominations, and was re-released many times after its original video release.
Voice Actors[edit | edit source]
The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists is the last of the Land Before Time films in which Linda Gary provides Grandma Longneck's voice, as she died shortly after the movie was filmed. This is the last movie in the series to featured Candace Hutson in the role of Cera, and therefore marks the last film in the series to feature any of the cast from the original film, The Land Before Time. This is also the last film in which Scott McAfee voices Littlefoot and Heather Hogan voices Ducky.
- John Ingle as the narrator
- Scott McAfee as Littlefoot
- Candace Hutson as Cera
- Heather Hogan as Ducky
- Jeff Bennett as Petrie/Ichy
- Rob Paulsen as Spike
- Kenneth Mars as Grandpa Longneck
- Linda Gary as Grandma Longneck
- Carol Bruce as the Old One
- Juliana Hansen as Ali
- Tress MacNeille as Ali's Mother/Dil But not her roar voice
- Charles Durning as Archie
- Frank Welker as Tickles/Hydrotherosaurus
Plot[edit | edit source]
Littlefoot notices a longneck herd entering the Great Valley, and informs his grandparents. They tell him that the longnecks are their cousins, and that they must go and greet them. As the Old One, the leader of the herd, tells the residents of the Great Valley that her herd has been migratory since a heavy rain period turned their old home into a marshland called "The Land of Mists", and became the home of many dangerous creatures, Littlefoot meets a longneck girl named Ali, and invites her to play. He introduces her to his friends, but as she is not used to associating with diverse species, she is afraid of them.
Meanwhile, Grandpa Longneck falls ill, and the Old One notes that the illness is lethal unless the victim eats the petals of the "Night Flower", a flower which can only be found in the Land of Mists. Though Littlefoot is warned that the journey is too dangerous, he feels determined to save his grandfather, and asks Ali to take him there. She agrees, on the condition that the other children do not come; they will slow them down. As the two of them make their way, they pass through a cave, and a sudden earthshake (earthquake) causes a wall of rocks to crash down, separating them. Ali decides the others will have to help her free Littlefoot, and runs off to get them. Littlefoot, in the meantime, tries to find a way out, and meets an old Archelon named Archie, who offers to help him dig through the rocks. They are interrupted by a Sharp Beak (Ichthyornis) and a Belly Dragger (Deinosuchus) named Ichy and Dil, who have their minds set to eat them.
Whilst Ichy and Dil give Archie and Littlefoot chase, Ali and the others dig at the wall from the other side. After Cera (who initially refused to join out of spite for Ali) joins them, they are able to free Littlefoot and Archie, and knock Ichy and Dil out. Littlefoot explains to them what happened, and the Night Flower is mentioned. Archie shows them a way to the Land of Mists, and gives them a reminder to stay close together, for defence. In the Land of Mists, Cera becomes separated from the group, who seek help from a mammal Ducky names "Tickles" (for his fur) to find her. Cera falls into a river, and is soon pursued by Ichy and Dil. Ali saves Cera and distracts the predators, after which Cera softens towards Ali, and Ali explains her prejudiced behaviour.
When the seven stop for the night, they find that they are in a field of Night Flowers, and quickly stock up on them. As they make their way home, Dil and Ichy attack them one more time. During the chase, Ducky falls into a river and Spike calls out her name, whilst Petrie rescues her from the predators. Ichy and Dil get into an argument when Dil mistakes Ichy for Ducky and nearly eats him, after which they dismiss each other. Dil flings Ichy off, but soon calls for him when a Hydrotherosaurus chases her away. Meanwhile, the children say goodbye to Tickles, and head home. They give Grandpa Longneck the blossoms, and he gets better upon eating them. Ali's herd then leaves, and the narrator concludes that Littlefoot and the others will meet Ali again one day.
Production[edit | edit source]
In June 1994, when The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure's release that December was announced, it was mentioned that The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving and The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists were already in production. Shortly after the December 1996 release of the fourth film, it was declared that an alternate version of the video for the film would be released, featuring hand signing for hearing-impaired audiences. Craig Releya, the vice president of Universal's marketing, explained "Not all of the hearing-impaired can benefit from closed captioning. Sometimes the closed captioning goes by too fast, but the main problem is that younger children aren't able to read yet". The ASL version of The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists was aimed at hearing-impaired children between ages three and eight, and featured hand signing by Sesame Street regular Linda Bove.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Analysis[edit | edit source]
The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists generally received cold reviews from the critcs, with Internet Reviews critic Steve Rhodes saying in his review that The Land Before Time was suffering from the "excessive sequel syndrome", with films that were "pure formula". He also criticized the film for being released straight to video, for not having very frightening villains in comparison with the Sharpteeth from the previous films, and for having a similar raw theme to the previous films. Nine years after the video release of the movie, Richard Scheib of the Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review Database (www.moria.co.nz) rated it a two-star movie, and said it was the slowest-paced film of all the Land Before Time films that had been produced at that point. Scheib also accused it of copying The Lion King, which was released in 1994 (two years before The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists's release), with the concept of "The Circle of Life", which was even the topic of the song "Grandma's Lullaby". Michael Scheinfeld on Disney Family.com, when reviewing the films in the Land Before Time series (in 2007), considered the fourth film to be "one of the weakest entries in the series", and also criticized the song "Grandma's Lullaby"; calling it a "blatant attempt to conjure up memories" of The Lion King. However, he mistakenly called the song "The Circle of Life" instead of "Grandma's Lullaby".
Bonnie Sayers on Epinions.com gave The Land Before Time IV: Journey through the Mists a rating of four stars out of five, and praised the family love portrayed in the film, but opposed the scenes in the Land of Mists; deeming them as "scary for young kids".
Rod Gustafson on Parent Previews.com thought that the previous three films in the series had all been good, if not predictable, but he considered this film a disappointment when compared with them. However, he described the film as being interesting for young children, its target audience. Other critics with different opinions on the movie have agreed on its appropriateness for children. Michael Sauter of Entertainment Weekly said that while the Land Before Timeseries seemed to follow a formula, The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists was still more vibrantly animated and had more appealing songs than the previous films had.
Ratings[edit | edit source]
The movie has a current rating of 5.8/10 stars at IMDB.com, based on 4,150 votes. It received a 20% rating by the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.com.
Awards/Nominations[edit | edit source]
In 1997 The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists received an Annie Award nomination for Best Home Video Production, though the award went to Disney's Aladdin and the King of Thieves. Leslie Bricusse received an Annie nomination that year for Best Individual Achievement: Music in a Feature/Home Video Production, for writing the songs in the movie, but lost to Randy Newman for Cats Don't Dance.
Songs[edit | edit source]
The songs are written by Leslie Bricusse.
- Grandma's Lullaby - Grandma Longneck (Linda Gary)
- Who Needs You? - Dil and Ichy (Tress MacNeille and Jeff Bennett)
- It Takes All Sorts - Ali, Littlefoot, Cera, Petrie and Ducky (Juliana Hansen, Scott McAfee, Candace Hutson, Jeff Bennett, and Heather Hogan)
An instrumental version of the song "If We Hold on Together" appears on the soundtrack.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
- 1: Genesis B
- 2: The Longnecks
- 3: Longneck's Story
- 4: Ali
- 5: Sharptooth And The Earthquake (reused from the original film)
- 6: Where's Littlefoot
- 7: The Attack
- 8: Land of Mists
- 9: Ichy & Dil
- 10: The Nightflower
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- On the VHS cover for the film, Dil and Ichy are on a high cliff watching Littlefoot and the gang. Ichy is holding a tiny pair of binoculars, which most likely do not exist in the Land Before Time universe. However, this may have just been an inside joke.
- The Land Before Time IV: Journey through the Mists appears to be occurring long after The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving, during which time the damage caused thereby has entirely healed. Grandpa Longneck mentions when the Old One asks if their land has "changed" that the Great Valley is in perfect order.
- Topps, Cera's father, appears briefly in the crowd scene when the migrating Longneck herd arrives, but has no lines in this film. Littlefoot's grandparents are the only grownup family members of the main characters that play roles in this film.
- In the Finnish dub of this film Dil's gender seems to be male rather than female, since the character's Finnish voice is clearly masculine. This remains unconfirmed, however, because the Finnish word "hän" means both "him" and "her"; there being no objective pronoun in the language which specifically refers to a male or a female. Similarly, in the Spanish dub of the movie the Old One is given a male voice.
- Ozzy & Strut, the Struthiomimus brothers from The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, might be part of the Struthiomimus herd seen stampeding in the Land of Mists. However, it has not been confirmed.
- Dil's fate is similar to Ozzy and Strut's fate when they are defeated by a Sharptooth.
- This was the first movie in The Land Before Time franchise in which Spike speaks out loud, although in the Finnish dub of the original The Land Before Time he utters the single word "ruokaa", meaning "food" in English.
- Cera's niece and nephew, Dinah & Dana appear in one of the games in the "Extras" section on the DVD for this film, although they do not make their debut in the film series until the sixth installment, The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock.
- This is the third film in which Littlefoot cries.
- This is the first film in which Grandma Longneck cries.
- The Pachycephalosaur fight is similar to the Bull Moose fight from Balto III: Wings of Change which is also a Universal film. Coincidentally, Balto III came out In 2004, years after Journey Through The Mists.
- As the Old One explains how the Land of Mists came to be, a crocodile similar to Dil is seen attacking a Longneck, barely missing biting its tail. This is most likely foreshadow to Dil's appearance and might explain her location within the cave, which would lead to her future partnering with Ichy.
- This is the last film where original sequel actors, Scott McAfee, Candace Hutson and Heather Hogan would voice their roles as their voices were going deeper as they aged. However a Land Before Time fan had discovered how the actors would have sounded two years later, if test pitched, Candance Hutson would likely keep her role as Cera than her sucessor and current actor, Anndi McAfee (despite her voice making Cera's voice sound older regardless).
- This is also the last film where Linda Gary voices Grandma Longneck. She died of a brain tumor a year before the film was released.
- This is the first Land Before Time film to use a cartoon sound effect; a whack sound effect is used when Dil whips Ichy away after their last argument near the end.
Goofs[edit | edit source]
- Continuity: As Ali turns to say "goodbye" to Littlefoot and his friends, her eyes have the same color as Littlefoot's, whereas they had differed throughout most of the film.
- In that same scene, when Ducky states "And we will miss you, very very much. We will. But Spike talks now, so he can tell you for himself." Spike's lower jaw switches from green to yellow multiple times.
- On the original VHS cover, Ichy is seen holding a pair of binoculars, in which is an actual fact that binoculars weren't invented until the time of humans. this might have been an inside joke.
- During Dil and Ichy's musical argument (Who Needs You?), Ichy sings, "I need you like a cold in July." There is no lunar calendar system in the Land Before Time universe; by that line of reasoning, July and other months should not have been mentioned. Nor, in puristic terms, should have been such references as to a cold (which is a virus and therefore presumably unknown to dinosaurs and their close relations), and the use of the word "Sun", which is nearly always replaced in the Land Before Time series by the epithet "Bright Circle". The word "sun" is also used again in "It Takes All Sorts" and "Big Water".
- In "It Takes All Sorts", a microphone with a pole is shown in one shot, despite the fact that this film is just animated. This might have been an inside joke with an animators.
- When Cera arrives at the rockslide to help save Littlefoot, Spike's eye color briefly changes to yellow and red.