Plot: What’s it about?
Once again, the little scamps we’ve watched so many times have gotten into an adventure and this time, they’re venturing beyond the unknown. As all the other dinosaurs sleep one night, Littlefoot sees a strange rock crash down from the sky, landing in the realm of the Smoking Mountains. He tells his grandparents about what he saw, but they assume this rock is just like the others they’ve all seen crash down from above. But when Little foot tells them about the special aspects of this flying stone, the other dinosaurs scoff at him and believe he was dreaming or perhaps just telling them all a lie. But Littlefoot knows what he saw, which was a crackling, shimmering rock that flew down from far above. This idea of a stone of cold fire just seems impossible to the others, but Littlefoot is sure of what his eyes took in. Soon, Littlefoot and his tiny dino buddies scamper off in search of the truth, but Petrie’s estranged uncle, Pterano has plans of his own for the stone, should it have special powers. What will Littlefoot and the others discover when they journey into the unknown and will the stone be what he thinks, or was it all just a dream?
This is the seventh installment in The Land Before Time series and I feel the need to ask the creators, please put this one to rest. The first film had a decent theatrical run and was well received, but the plethora of straight to video follow ups have been mediocre to bland. I admit that kids might find some stuff to like even with the worst of episodes, but please, let this dinosaur disappear with what little dignity it has left. But on the other hand, if you like the series, then this seventh edition will no doubt please you. The basic elements return from the previous films and though voices have changed, the same terrific characters remain and some new friends appear as well. The songs are no worse than the usual type that plague these animated films and the storyline, while a little thin to be sure, seems more than adequate for a children’s film. The animation seems on par with the rest of the later entries in the series, so no real complaints there either. I think the series has more than its course, but I suppose someone must disagree, as the videos and discs keep selling well. I ended up liking this one the first time around, but I doubt much replay value is present. If you liked the previous films in the series, then by all means, give this latest installment a look.
Video: How does it look?
The Land Before Time VII: The Stone Of Cold Fire is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the intended aspect ratio of the movie. This is about as good as you can want from a direct to video animated film, no serious concerns in the least. This style of animation is not visually complex by any means, but the image looks very good in the end. I don’t think the animation loses any stride in the move onto the digital format, as no problems or compression flaws seem to emerge. The colors look very bright and bold, with no bleeds or other errors to report in the least. Contrast also looks sharp and while use of shadows is limited, black levels look stark and accurate. I still wish this was offered in an anamorphic widescreen option, but even so, this is a solid transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which ensures the musical numbers sound fantastic. The music sounds rich and immersive, while the vocals remain in proper balance and on the whole, those elements shine through with no problems. The rest of the film however, is not active much at all and that is a little disappointing to be honest. A few scenes could have used a boost in the surround mix, but instead come off as flat and uninspired. I can’t complain too much though, as it sounds good overall, just not as active as I would have liked. The dialogue is clear at all times and always at a proper volume level. The disc also contains a 5.1 track in French and English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains some DVD-ROM content such as games and storybooks, but no real extras are to be found on the disc.