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  Directed by
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  Specs
  • Full Frame
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Dutch: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, German, Dutch, Arabic
  Extras
  • Interactive game - Littlefoot's Puzzles, Seek & Find and Sing-Along Songs

The Land Before Time 8 - The Big Freeze

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 78 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Hang on, we're up to number eight now? I wasn't even aware that there was a two through seven; such is the kind of anonymity that goes hand in hand with the straight to video market. But then again, Iím not a child.

The fact is Land Before Time VIII - The Big Freeze is already doing big business on video shelves across the country. It might not have the kind of wry humour that many other kids titles have showcased, but that's not really the point. Certainly it makes fairly boring viewing for adults, but the kids will lavish in the overall cuteness - that much is certain.

The whole gang is back for this eighth Land Before Time (non) adventure. Littlefoot, Ducky, Petrie, Spike and Cera spend their days in the hidden valley learning the world's secrets from Mr. Thicknose, the oldest and wisest dinosaur in the community. Sibling rivalry begins to brew between Ducky and her foster brother Spike however, and when a spike-tail troupe of dinosaurs visit the valley, Spike decides that it might be beneficial to spend some time with dinosaurs of his kind. After he leaves, however, Ducky begins to regret her actions towards Spike and yearns for his return. In the meantime, something strange begins to happen. Snow starts to fall for the first time ever, and the little dinosaurs are loving it. But soon they begin to realise that winter means the death of green food and the onset of unbearable cold.

After Ducky leaves the valley in search of Spike, the other kids decide to go after her and embark on an adventure that will reveal many truths and become the deciding factor in the valley's survival through the big freeze. Oh, and they sing some songs along the way too.

It sounds like an adventure, but in truth not much really happens in The Big Freeze. As previously mentioned, the biggest drawcard here are the cute dinosaurs and if that's the kind of thing that floats your boat then this film should be mildly enjoyable. Heartwarming is one way to describe it, but most older viewers will find it boring and cheap. At any rate, it's good filler for the kids that are bored with all their current videos.

  Video
Contract

Sure, DVD has been a superb medium for animation; just look at almost any of the recent Disney or Dreamworks releases and this will be immediately apparent. The Big Freeze, however, falls far short of reaching the benchmark set by bigger budgeted releases.

Of course considering the average viewing age for this feature will be very young, then the problems with this transfer aren't going to be very relevant. As, by and large, the overall image quality will be entirely acceptable for the average user. In many places, it is actually quite impressive. For discerning collectors hoping for another crystal clear animation spectacular, however, this isn't going to impress.

The biggest problem here is aliasing. It is a plague on this transfer that just doesn't let up. Thankfully the areas in which this occurs are only small, however it jumps so frequently from background to foreground and around the character models that anyone who notices it won't be able ignore it from there on in.

On the plus side, the print is entirely free of any film artefacts or compression errors. The overall clarity of the image will be acceptable to most, however all too often it is marred by the unnatural focus (or lack there of) between background and foreground. Topping it all off, a large amount of the animation for the film just looks cheap - which is hardly anything that the authoring house could have changed.

  Audio
Contract

Well I have to say that I wasn't expecting a 5.1 audio mix for this release. That's just spiffy... kind of.

As far as separation goes, this film is largely presented as a front-mix. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, if a little too deliberate at times. The surrounds come into play during the surprisingly high quality orchestrated soundtrack and, unfortunately, during the dire musical numbers also. There are very few atmospheric effects assigned to these speakers however. A little bit of subwoofer action occurs from time to time to coincide with the dinosaurs marching from place to place; it's nothing astounding, but effective nonetheless.

  Extras
Contract

There's not a whole lot on offer here, but what has been included should entertain the kids for an hour or less.

All three features are more or less Interactive Games. Littlefoot's puzzles consist of six extremely basic jumble puzzles. Seek & Find consists of finding the particular elements of any give picture and matching them with the image snippet at the bottom. The Sing-Along Songs feature separates two of the musical numbers and attaches lyrics at the bottom of the screen.

  Overall  
Contract

It's no competition when comparing this film with the likes of recent releases like Ice Age (at the very least the films' themes and settings are similar), or even older material from Disney or Dreamworks; quite simply it never had the budget to even enter the race. But I guess pretending to be something it never was could have made the film a whole lot worse.

In the end The Big Freeze is a cute and humble kids film with good morals and a mildly exciting story that should tide the little ones over until the next big release.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2007
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      And I quote...
    "...a cute and humble kids film with good morals and a mildly exciting story that will tide the little ones over until the next big release."
    - Ben Pollock
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Omni SL-P2000KD
    • TV:
          Palsonic 71cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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