Truly a classic, albeit a little dated looking today. If you've only ever seen the less than satisfactory sequels, you owe it to yourself to see this at least once.
One of very few childrens films to tackle a death in the family in a way that acknowledges grief, and loss in the matter of fact way that children do, but doesn't then forget it in the next 5 minutes. Littlefoot's mother looms large (both literally and figuratively) over most of the film.
A promising premise, but you get the feeling the studio folks jammed in a few extras, and somehow, it shows. "We need some cute non-human sidekicks! The villains need to be unilaterally evil, they cannot possibly have any redeeming features." etc.
The graphics though, are gorgeous, the plot is about average for this kind of standard mythical 'teenage boy will save the universe' story, but most of the characters are well likeable. Did I mention how beautiful the art is?
Well the story is a bit weak, and at least one of the characters is up there with a certain Mr J. J. Binks in annoyance factor. But it's beautifully rendered and some of the action sequences are simply wonderful.
Some of these are flawed. Nothing is perfect. Gorgeous, well plotted, but slow moving and with odd timing. Or, a rocking good story, but the art lets it down. Breathtaking art drowning under an overblown voice cast, or a plot that doesn't deliver. Some of them just came out at the wrong time, and were overlooked.
Maybe nothing is perfect, but some of these come darn close, and I think even the rest of them are well worth an hour or two, if you'll watch with an open mind.