Kids have always been fascinated with dinosaurs, enormous killing lizards that only left fossils and secrets, ones that are bound to provoke curiosity. Pop culture certainly helps in turn the lizards into friendly mascots for children everywhere. In 1993, around the same time audiences were dazzled by Jurassic Park, and the tear-jerking Land Before Time films, another animated feature pondered what would happen if the lizards could walk amongst Times Square? in We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story.
After encountering a friendly alien, four prehistoric dinosaurs gain the gift of intelligence, through a nutritious grain called Brain Grain. The grain, and the generous extra-terrestrial being are the result of time-traveling scientist, Captain Neweyes. He offers the newly educated dinosaurs an opportunity to return to the present and instil hopes in the young children of the present by seeing the prehistoric lizards in a modern-day setting. The dinosaurs agree, but they must beware, Professor Screweye’s, the captain’s brother, is here to promote a wave of terror and will try anything to thwart Neweye’s plans. Can the Dinosaurs persevere in the heart of a new jungle?
Released during a time when animated films were more than just commonplace, there are some unique differences that set the film apart. At times, I was reminded of the Tom and Jerry film, with its plot points and certain characters, A Dinosaur’s Story is a film that appears to be proud of its animated set pieces, showing them off with a great sense of detail. With C.G.I. to accentuate the action, with one sequence that takes to air with great aplomb. Yet still retaining the charm of the classic drawn look that you don’t see nowadays. Though either a blessing or a curse (depending on your tastes), the film is short on musical numbers, outside of Roll Back The Rock, in a way that bucks the trend.
Though the four time-travelling Dinosaurs are diverse and entertaining enough to carry the film by themselves, their party grows when two relatable humans join their group. A tough street kid and a rich girl who feel that her parents simply don’t care for her, they are kind of typical for animated children’s protagonists, but in the same way, will be relatable or at least likeable to a lot of the people who watch this film. A Dinosaur Story assembles an impressive cast of voice actors from both sides of the Atlantic, help bring the charming array of Dinosaurs to life. John Goodman, whose resume needs no introduction, but you have the likes of Martin Short, Jay Leno, Felicity Kendal, who you may know from The Good Life. Even the likes of Walter Cronkite gracing the role with his trademark delivery.
We’re Back takings an interesting take on a crowded premise to produce something interesting in its own right. A classic animation before the reliance on Computer-Generated Imagery became de rigueur in children’s films and animation. A Dinosaurs Story charming characters help the tale stand out, with its blend of sci-fi and magical elements. While keeping the story both short and very sweet. Much like the beasts brought back to life, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story remains an animated treasure.
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