I recently realised that my 10 year old step-sister has seen none of the films that I watched as a child. This is naturally a disaster and I needed to intervene. So we’re revisiting some of the old classics, most of which I haven’t seen since I was her age. I figured that while I’m re-watching the films, I might as well write up what I think about the films, particularly whether or not they’ve stood the test of time.
So first up; ‘We’re Back: A Dinosaur Story’
I found this film in the supermarket the other day for only £2, and the nostalgia was too great so I just had to buy it.
I hadn’t seen this film since I was a kid, and could just vaguely remember not really understanding the plot. Re-watching it… I still don’t understand the plot.
If you haven’t seen it before, let me break it down for you:
• An alien and a scientist (Captain Neweyes) got back to find some dinosaurs and give them cereal which makes them smart.
• Captain Neweyes shows them a wish radio, and apparently all of the children in the 90’s were wishing that they could meet a dinosaur.
• The dinosaurs go to the future, and are dropped in the middle of New York so they can meet the museum curator for the Museum of Natural History.
• They miss the curator and meet a young boy (Louis) instead.
• They become friends with the boy, and another girl (Cecilia) they meet.
• The kids run away to the circus which is run by the bad guy (the scientists brother; Professor Screweyes).
• The bad guy predictably tricks them. He gets the kids to sign a contract and turns them into monkeys, blackmailing the dinosaurs by offering to rip up the kids contracts if the dinosaurs take the antidote to the brain cereal.
• The dinos take the antidote, and become an act in Screweyes Fear Circus. But don’t worry, the children fix it by Cecilia wishing “let no bad happen” and Louis healing the dinosaurs with the power of love and cuddles.
I’m not joking about any of that. This is the plot of a movie produced by Steven Spielberg. To quote the Nostalgia Critic; “This is the Land Before Time on crystal meth!”
Basically, it’s premised on the fact that kids are stupid.
The plot is repeated a ridiculous amount of times. And there’s even a moment when one of the dinosaurs spots a poster of the antagonist, turns around, looks at the camera and says “Professor Screweyes? That’s the bad guy!” As if it wasn’t painfully obvious already.
Weird thing is, as pandering and childish as it is, this film has one of the creepiest villain deaths I’ve ever seen.
The climax of the movie takes place in Screweyes circus, and as the good guys leave in their UFO/steampunk aircraft, Screweyes is left alone, stood in a spotlight in the darkness. And then we get this: “Brother! Brother, wait! When I am all alone… when I have no one to scare, I get very frightened myself.” Screweyes was driven mad after the incident in which he lost his eye, and his entire life has been spent scaring other people so that he doesn’t feel as frightened. When he’s in a position of power he’s incredibly confident, but now he’s compleetely broken. His crows start to circle and suddenly cover him. Then, while the circus audience watches, he’s devoured by the crows, leaving nothing but the screw that took the place of his eye. Words cannot do this creepy, creepy scene justice.
The film is incredibly dated. (I went to look up when it was made and found that it was created in 1993. The same year which I was born, which made me feel really old.) And a lot of the old American slang went way over the head of my little sister.
All in all, it’s a great mindless film for children, but it’s not the kind of fun-for-the-whole-family entertainment that Disney provides. I can’t see parents sitting though this film and laughing at jokes carefully weaved in for the adult audience, it’s just very obviously nothing more than a child’s film.
It doesn’t help that a lot of the movie makes no sense. Like how the dinosaurs can just wander around New York without being noticed.
And I have no the hell what little alien guy was, he looks a bit like a Space Jam reject…
Although I will always love Rex’s song…
So I suppose the film does have some redeeming features. Has anyone else seen this film recently? Did it live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments!