The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water is the ninth film in the animated Land Before Time series. Produced and directed by Charles Grosvenor, with a score composed by Michael Tavera and an archival soundtrack composed by James Horner, it was originally released direct-to-video and DVD on December 10, 2002. In the movie, Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike befriend a mischievousOpthalmosaurus named Mo, who has been stranded from his home in the Big Water by recent heavy rains. When none of the grownups offer any assistance, the children decide to take him home on their own.
The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water was well received by the critics, and received nominations for several awards. Along with being re-released several times, the movie also spawned a PlayStation video game.
The Great Valley has been experiencing a heavy "skywater" for several days, and Littlefoot grows impatient, waiting for the bright circle (sun) to shine. When it does, he goes to find his friends, but they are all preoccupied; Cera and her father are moving a log which rolled onto their nest, Ducky, Spike, and their family are relocating their nest, and Petrie has come down with a cold. Feeling bored, Littlefoot decides to explore on his own, and discovers that the "sky water" created a large "new water" in the Great Valley. Though the adults advise against approaching it, Littlefoot goes back to the water the next day, to investigate a mysterious voice in its direction. When there, he meets the caller: a young, fun-loving, swimmer (Opthalmosaurus) named Mo, who invites him to play. In the meantime, his friends overhear him playing, and run to join. Littlefoot excitedly tells them that he and Mo just became "mud brothers", and they question Mo's whereabouts. When Littlefoot sees that Mo has disappeared, Cera becomes convinced that Mo is imaginary. Petrie assures Littlefoot and the others that imaginary friends are all right, at which point Mo reappears.
After being introduced to the others, Mo informs them he is from the Big Water (ocean), and explains how he ended up in the Great Valley; when the sky water caused a rise in the Big Water, it flowed over high cliffs into the valley, carrying him away with it. Convinced that he is alone, he is startled to find a sharptooth swimmer (Liopleurodon) making his way towards the gang. After Mo manages to stop him from doing the children harm, Littlefoot decides to ask the grownups to help in returning Mo to his home. The grownups refuse, due to the danger of helping a strange creature from outside the Great Valley, and after an earthshake (earthquake) separates them from the rest of the valley, Littlefoot and the others decide to return Mo on their own. On their way they encounter an obstacle: a large boulder in the water, which Mo must jump over. Later, Ducky falls into a nest of Diplodocus eggs, and after explaining their presence to the mother (referred to by Ducky as "Mrs. Mama"), she lets them spend the night. The next day, when they make off again, they discover that they are nearing the Big Water when the water starts to taste salty. Later, they encounter the sharptooth swimmer (who had escaped from a wall of rocks imprisoning him in a cave, after the earthshake) for the final time, and Mo appears to sacrifice himself to save them.
The next day, they find that Mo is all right, and he informs them that the Sharptooth Swimmer stopped chasing him when he smelled something in the distance. Littlefoot inhales in the same direction, and realizes that the Sharptooth Swimmer returned to the Big Water. When they reach it themselves, Mo reunites with his pod, then pleads with the gang to stay, but Littlefoot insists that he and the others must return to the Great Valley. Mo offers to show him his home before they leave, and Littlefoot is surprised by the beauty of the undersea world. When onland again, Littlefoot and the others promise they will always be friends with Mo, and then return home.
- John Ingle as the Narrator/Mr. Threehorn
- Kenneth Mars as Grandpa Longneck
- Miriam Flynn as Grandma Longneck/Diplodocus Mom
- Thomas Dekker as Littlefoot
- Anndi McAfee as Cera
- Aria Noelle Curzon as Ducky
- Rob Paulsen as Spike/Mo
- Tress MacNeille as Mama Swimmer/Mama Flyer
- Jeff Bennett as Petrie
- Frank Welker as Sharptooth Swimmer
This was the last movie in The Land Before Time film series to use James Horner's score from the original The Land Before Time, despite Michael Tavera's rearrangements of Horner's original themes still being heard in some shots of The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses ("If We Hold On Together" is played for the last time in the scene where the gang reach the Big Water).
The music that plays in the background when the gang cool off is the cheese factory scene music from from An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island. This is the second and last time the music is used in the series, after The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze.
The songs are written by Michele Brourman and Amanda McBroom. The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water was the first movie in the series which contained more than three songs, with the use of the musical number "Big Water", from The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island, (for which Brourman and McBroom also collaborated on the songs).
- Chanson D'Ennui - Translated from French, the title means "Song of Boredom".
- Imaginary Friend- Notable as possibly the only moment when the characters play any sort of instrument (I this case, Petrie playing the shells of a trio of passing turtles like drums as the intro to the song)
- Big Water - A reprise of he song from number 5. This one comprised of the first verse, followed by another new verse.
- No One Has to Be Alone - This song is known as "You Never Have to Be Alone" in some countries.
- This is the second Land Before Time film to be released on December 10th. The first is The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists.
- The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water was released the same year that Universal Studios released The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure and The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving on DVD for the first time.
- Littlefoot uses the term "sky colors" to refer to a rainbow in this film. However, the term rainbow was used in The Stone of Cold Fire to describe the "Rainbow Face" species.
- This movie marks the first appearance of regular Rainbow Faces, unlike the what appear to be extra-terrestrials disguised as Rainbow Faces in The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire.
- The scene where Littlefoot wishes out loud that his mom had given him a brother to play with is noted to be the second time in the series Littlefoot actually refers to his mother since the original, the other time being when he refers to her in the final verse of "Always There", from The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island. Ironically and coincidentally this became a spoiler to the later appearance of Shorty who would later become Littlefoot's adopted brother in The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration which is a sequel to The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water.
- This movie marks the first time eggs are computer-animated in a Land Before Time film (The eggs are shown upclose when the gang find Ducky in Mrs. Mama's nest). Hand-drawn elements are mapped onto each of the eggs in the later scene where they hatch. The log Cera and her father are pushing at the beginning of the film is also computer-animated.
- The Internet Movie Database once mistook The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire character Sierra (voiced by Jim Cummings) to be in this film, but he has since been removed from the cast list.
- This is the fourth time Spike sings in the series; he can be heard humming during the song "Big Water".
- This is the first film in which nobody cries.
- This is one of the several Land Before Time films to prior several previous Land Before Time films.
Character Debuts Edit
- Recurring characters:
- One-off characters:
- Mrs. Mama
- Mrs. Mama's children
- Petrie's Imaginary Friend
- Mo's water kin
- Species Debuts: