Petrie is raised by his mother, together with his brothers and sisters, and has an uncle named Pterano, who appeared in The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire. Petrie is very timid and nervous most of the time, and was afraid to learn how to fly in the original film until the very end. The character's most notable aspect is his improper grammar usage.
He was at first intended to be the comic relief for the original film, but the critical reviews on the character's comedy were relatively negative. They have since improved, although concerns over Petrie's broken English and the way it could affect children have persisted. Though with a minor cultural impact, Petrie is popular with fans of the series, and his relationship with both the main character Ducky, and his uncle serve as inspiration for many fanfiction stories on The Land Before Time.
Petrie is very gentle and kind-hearted, but is also naive and nervous. He panics easily, and fears doing anything new or dangerous; thus he is often dependant on his friends for support and encouragement. He is constantly shown trying to find ways to exercise his bravery, though often to no avail. He therefore tends to idolize or admire people whom he thinks are very strong and brave, a particular example being his uncle Pterano up until the end of the seventh movie. Another example is in the TV episode "The Brave Longneck Scheme", when he expresses interest in Rhett upon hearing of his supposed defeats of multiple Sharpteeth. Despite his reluctance, he always pulls through when his friends need his help.
It is also shown on several occasions that Petrie is superstitious. In "The Canyon of Shiny Stones", Petrie is reluctant to go past the smoking mountain which lies next to the Canyon of Shiny Stones, because he believes it "does not like flyers". Later, when he tries to fly over it to prove his bravery, and the mountain begins to spew, he cries "Me never should have tried it, me make the mountain mad!" In "The Meadow of Jumping Waters", he frets over the red tickly treestars which Spike devoured, claiming that his Uncle Pterano told him he heard of someone having bad luck when they had eaten treestars of that sort. Petrie then blames every misfortune which befalls the children during their search for the Meadow of Jumping Waters on the treestars.
In the TV episode "The Days of Rising Water", Petrie reveals that he's had what he calls a "snuggling stick" ever since he and the other original main characters first arrived in the Great Valley. He uses it to comfort himself when nervous, or when sleeping.
Petrie has a fear of clouds (referred to as "Sky Puffies", by the characters), as seen in Template:Film. This is referenced again in the TV episode "The Mysterious Tooth Crisis", when Chomper's tooth falls off a cliff and Petrie flies down to catch it. When he returns, Ducky and Littlefoot remark that he just flew through the clouds, to Petrie's shock.
Petrie's naivete has been noticeable on multiple occasions. He is often manipulated to do or believe something by the other characters; most notably in The Stone of Cold Fire, when his uncle convinced him of his bravery and wisdom, and later got him to inquire Littlefoot on the estimated whereabouts of the stone. Petrie also tends to trust others very easily.
Petrie was afraid of flying in the original movie, and though it embarrassed him, he still refused to try, although he would eagerly inquire to his friends if he had flown upon having fallen to the ground. However, when the Sharptooth attacked them for the final time, he ironically helped Petrie to fly by blowing air out his nose, where then Petrie managed to summon the courage and breath to start flying again.
Petrie becomes, more or less, the central character in Template:Film, when he and his siblings have to complete a flight ordeal to show that they have become adults. He prefers flying by himself, however, and thusly has trouble flying in group formation and staying so. His uniqueness ends up being the "key" to completing the day, changing the Great Day of the Flyers forever.
Petrie speaks in a sort of broken English. For instance, he tends to use "me" when "I" would be grammatically correct (ex. "Me hungry" rather than "I'm hungry"). Also, he usually omits linking verbs, and may say things such as "He so nice" instead of "He is so nice". Petrie has also been known to refer to himself in a third person, meaning that he calls himself by his own name. It is uncertain why he speaks in this manner, as all of his siblings appear to speak normally.
Petrie's family consists of a mother, several brothers and sisters, and an uncle named Pterano. His father has never been seen, even in the original film. Petrie's mother is very attentive to her children, and Petrie seems to have a good mother-son relationship with her. His relationship with his brothers and sisters is settled for the most part, although they get flustered with him at times, such as in The Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers, when he keeps falling out of line with the group. Another instance is in the TV episode "The Cave of Many Voices", when he tries to use a leaf as an umbrella for himself and his siblings, but accidentally spills the water that had gathered on the leaf all over them.
Petrie at first looked up to his Pterano, thinking he could do no wrong, and found it hard to accept his uncle's behavior in The Stone of Cold Fire. He is also very defensive of him, and when Cera told him of bad things her father had said about Pterano, and expressed agreement on them, Petrie made nasty remarks about her. At the end of the film, however, Petrie accepted that Pterano was not as smart and brave as he had originally thought.
Petrie seems to have a strong relationship with Ducky; he is seen with her more often than with the other main characters, and Ducky continually offers him comfort and consolement when he is unhappy or nervous. Petrie has described Littlefoot as "his best friend", on a few occasions, specifically in The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses. After speaking very harshly to Littlefoot the day after finding out it was his fault that the Tinysauruses ate all of the tree sweets, Petrie, Ducky and Spike feel very regretful of their own actions, and Petrie states that he does not like making Littlefoot feel sad, as he is his best friend.Petrie has a much more strained friendship with Cera, which is most noticeable in The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire. In the first scene, Petrie at first gets frustrated when Cera expresses skepticism in his story about flyers being the first creatures to inhabit the earth. When he tells her that his Uncle Pterano told him the story, the two get into an argument about why he had left the herd. Later, when Pterano had sent Petrie off to gather information from Littlefoot on where the Stone of Cold Fire had landed, Cera suspected his intentions were so (although he had said he was interested in the stone himself) and openly called him a liar, upon which he flew away in tears. Cera later shows she cares about Petrie, however, when she saves him from a falling rock.
Petrie seems to get along better with Spike, and usually tries to help or encourage him whenever he is in trouble or reluctant to do something. In The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock, when Spike is afraid to jump on the pillars in the canyon, Petrie urges him on, telling him it will be alright. Later, when Spike gets stuck in the hole in the hollow tree trunk over the same canyon, and the Allosaurus which had been pursuing the children begins to near them, Petrie and Littlefoot together try to help him get free in time.
Petrie appears to be on good terms with Ruby and Chomper. In The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, when baby Chomper bit Cera's tail by instinct, Petrie tried to console him. In the TV episode "The Mysterious Tooth Crisis", Petrie flies after Chomper's fallen tooth when it goes over a cliff, and later watches over Chomper when Littlefoot and Ducky go off to find Ruby at Tria's secret mud pool. At the same time, in The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island, when Littlefoot confronts Cera over her paranoiac and bigoted behavior towards Chomper, Petrie points out that while Chomper may be nice to them in the present, when they grow up he might change his mind about them.
In The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water, Petrie reveals in the song "Imaginary Friend" that he has an imaginary friend; a short, primarily green sharptooth. When Ducky imagines that he is scary, Petrie assures her that he is nice, and that he has no teeth. He also mentions that they play together everyday, and when he flies ahead of the gang later in the film, to check up on what awaits them further along, he imagines that the friend has wings and can fly with him, so as not to be alone. Despite this, the friend has not been mentioned in any of the later films, or in the television series.
Although one of the main characters, Petrie's role in the original The Land Before Time was not as large as had been originally intended, due to Don Bluth and the rest of the studio's fondness for Judith Barsi's performance as Ducky.
Petrie is the only one of the main characters who speaks with a cartoon voice, instead of a normal, childlike voice. This is because for the original The Land Before Time movie, the producers were uncertain of who should voice the character. Dom DeLuise, who previously worked with Don Bluth on The Secret of NIMH and An American Tail was suggested, but DeLuise was working on Oliver and Company at the time. Then, Steven Spielberg's son, Max, thought of the character Digit's (from An American Tail) voice, and thought it would be perfect for Petrie. Because Will Ryan had voiced Digit, he was called in to voice Petrie.
Original colorsIn a reference sheet used in production of the original movie, Petrie is seen with different colors that he is in the released version; he has a black head and wings, a dark brown body, purple eyelids, and a white neck ring. On multiple pieces of old Land Before Time merchandise such as cups, the plushie released with the original movie, the Pizza Hut hand puppet, and "The Land Before Time: The Illustrated Story", Petrie is colored with another set of colors. He is shown with a blue head, green eyelids, a pink neck, gray legs, and black wings. It is unknown whether these colors are another version of Petrie that was proposed during production, or a saturated version of the aforementioned colors. It can be assumed Petrie's colors were changed to their current brown after the production of the products had already started.
Petrie has been shown with different colors in a very large amount of Land Before Time merchandise and media. This version of Petrie is shown with an orange body, opposed to his normal brown, a pale cream beak and neck ring, and black arms. The underneath part of his wings are brown, unlike their normal grayish color. This version of him is also frequently seen with multiple boned wings bearing resemblance to that of bats, and is dubbed as the "bat version" of Petrie by some fans. It is unknown why he is shown with these colors so often, as he is even recolored from his normal colors to his alternate colors in the DVD box art for the fourth and sixth movie.
He has been seen with these colors in these instances:
- All of the Land Before Time "Playtime board books". These include: "The Great, Beautiful Valley", "When We Grow Up", "We Did It Together", and "Playing In The Valley".
- The Land Before Time storybooks, "Waiting to Hatch" and "Getting into Trouble".
- The Land Before Time "Lift A Flap" book, "Colors of Our World".
- Some plush toys
- Template:Film, Template:Film, and Template:Film DVD box art.
- Template:Film, Template:Film, Template:Film, and Template:Film VHS and DVD box art.
- His old logo on the main website.(Now redirects to unversalstudios.com)(See Cultural Influence. the image on the right & the image in the header)
- In the "Adventure Valley" arcade game.
For the original The Land Before Time, the character Petrie received rather cold reviews. A critic for Animato magazine thought it predictable that the movie would feature a character meant to be one of the more lighthearted parts of the story, then have it seem that the character sacrifices themself to save the others, but survive in the end after all, as this scenario has been redone in numerous films. The reviewer is quoted as saying "At least in LAND, the comic relief deserves to go down." In the Hollywood Reporter's review, Petrie was considered not to be a first-rate comic relief, as the reviewer said that he "just isn't very funny". In his review on the original The Land Before Time movie, Washington Post critic Hal Hinson described Petrie as "neurasthenic"; effectively irritable. He also said that the character seemed disturbingly reminiscent of comedian and actor Charlie Callas.
The character has been received considerably better in the sequels. In James Plath's review on The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration, he describes Petrie as "funny", while Nancy Davis Kho on DisneyFamily.com argued in her review on The Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers that his use of broken English would badly influence young children, particularly preschoolers. At the same time, she thought that the plot in which Petrie is struggling to cooperate with the other flyers, but finally summons the courage to fly his own way, would be a good influence on families.
Voice actor Jeff Bennett received a nomination for the DVD Exclusive award for "Best Original Song", for his performance as Petrie singing the song "Imaginary Friend". The nomination was shared with Aria Noelle Curzon in the role of Ducky, Anndi McAfee as Cera, Thomas Dekker as Littlefoot, and the songwriters Michele Brourman and Amanda McBroom. However, their nomination lost to Jennifer Love Hewitt and Chris Canute for the song "I'm Gonna Love You", from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame II.
The character Petrie has not become as widely-known an icon for The Land Before Time franchise as characters such as Littlefoot, Ducky or Cera, but he has consistently remained a fan favourite together with the other main characters. Fans often refer to the character by the nickname he is given on the official website, "Panicky Petrie", in reflection of his nervous behaviour.
Handpuppets of Petrie and the other characters from the original film were issued at Pizza Hut, to help promote The Land Before Time. Since then, there have been various toys issued which resemble Petrie, including plush dolls, and others. Petrie is often included in other Land Before Time merchandise, such as video games, puzzles, books, and party favours.
One of the character's largest cultural impact is in fanfiction. In many Land Before Time fanfiction stories, the characters Petrie and Ducky are often portrayed in a romantic involvement with each other; sometimes they get married in the stories. In fanfics depicting the characters in their older years, Petrie is often described as being an exact image of his uncle, Pterano.
References in media
- The original main characters (Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike) are altogether referenced in question 43 of "Test 6: Animation", in Test-Prep Your IQ with the Essentials of Film, in which the question concerns which character is not a dinosaur.
- They are referenced together again in the "Throwback Trivia" in The Good Book for Great Times by Connor Pritchard and Dominic Russo.
- He was referred to as a Pterodactyl, or a Pterodactylus in The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water bonus features. This is incorrect as Pterodactylus didn't have the type of crest Petrie has, whereas Pteranodon did. However, UV scans did showcase that Pterodactylus had a keratinous crest, albeit somewhat differently shaped.
- Out of all the main characters the audience never witnessed Petrie's birth and nor ever seeing him as a baby.
- Real Pteranodons ate fish, not leaves or berries. In fact all known pterosaurs were carnivores in real life.
- Petrie at the Internet Movie Database.
- Video of Petrie's meeting with Littlefoot and Ducky on YouTube.Com
- Video of Petrie and the Treestar on YouTube.com
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