U – 74mins – 1997
TURN OF THE TIDE?
A triptych of cute-if-repetitive straight-to-video sequels in as many years was obviously enough for writer Dev Ross and director Roy Allen Smith. Both departed the Great Valley prior to this fifth diddy dino-delight, and most of the voice cast followed suit.
But those fearing a revolutionary franchise shake-up courtesy of incoming scribe John Loy and director Charles Grosvenor can breathe a sigh of relief, as following a snazzy 3D cosmic introduction (once again accompanied by John Ingle’s narration), The Mysterious Island is back to business as usual. The family-friendly formula is by now so deeply ingrained in this rinse-and-repeat template as to leave a fossil imprint!
So all the harmonious moral messages and in-universe buzzwords (tree-stars, great circle of life, sharp teeth) are trotted out again – so too a certain hatchling from The Great Valley Adventure – as the herbivorous herd are forced to leave their swarm-savaged paradise in search of food and water.
Impactfully introducing the eponymous isle with a stylistically-alternative tension-ramping walk along a narrow wave-lapped causeway, intrepid longneck Littlefoot (Brandon LaCroix, leading the pack in a near-whitewash of cast changes) and his diminutive band of buddies find salvation – but how can they get back to their panicked parents when the tide floods their return route to the mainland?
CR@B’s Claw Score: