The Land Before Time (1988)

A group of young dinosaurs is separated from their families by a huge earthquake. They’ve been taught that animals of different species never work or play together. But brave Littlefoot, the brontosaurus, teaches the others they’ll never make it back if they don’t cooperate. The exciting journey is hard enough, but they are also pursued by terrifying Sharp Tooth, the Tyrannosaurus.

You’ll have to look hard for their names, (read the “crawl titles” at the end very closely) but Brent Maddock and S. S. Wilson did a lot of work on Land Before Time. Steven Spielberg asked them to do some revisions on the existing script very late in animation pre-production. He and George Lucas wanted the characters to be more likable. Storyboards had been already been done and Brent and Steve were told they couldn’t change the planned action, but they could change anything the dinosaurs said. Eventually, just by changing dialogue they actually changed the basic idea of the story. Where it had originally been about lost little dinosaurs competing to be the leader, it became lost little dinosaurs learning to work together. This new idea even became the basis for the theme song. Side note: Brent came up with most of talkative Ducky’s dialogue, including his popular, “Yup, yup, yup.”

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