Western Animation / We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story

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We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story was Steven Spielberg’s other 1993 dinosaur movie, although he only executive-produced this animated feature.

It follows a quartet of dinosaurs who are given newfound intelligence by Mark Twain look-alike Captain Neweyes and travel to the "Middle Future" to fulfill the wishes of children in New York City to see real life dinosaurs. They meet up with two runaway children in their journey to the Museum of Natural History. But when panic breaks out, the heroes end up in an encounter with the frightening Professor Screweyes and his Eccentric Circus.

It is... a little bit different from the source material. That said, the film was not very popular with moviegoers or critics.


This movie contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Based very loosely on a children’s book by Hudson Talbot. Half of the dinosaur characters are dropped with more human characters added as well as an antagonist and loads and loads of side-plots.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • If for no other reason than the implication that dinosaurs aren't appealing to kids unless they're turned into cuddly goofballs.
    • Small potatoes in comparison, but pterosaurs aren't freakin' dinosaurs. It doesn't help that Elsa looks nothing like a pteranodon.
    • Woog and Dweeb, a plant-eating Triceratops and Parasaurolophus respectively, are both seen eating hotdogs.
    • Rex has three functional fingers in each hand, despite T-Rex having only two in real life.
    • When Rex is in his 'feral' form, he's drawn in the upright, old timey T-rex style, instead of the horizontal-leaning way that is seen as accurate today.
  • Baleful Polymorph: This happens to Louie and Cecilia when Professor Screweyes, having put them under his spell with his screw eye, demonstrates the power of his evil pills to the dinosaurs by giving one to the kids, turning them into monkeys.
  • Big Applesauce: New Yorkers have seen everything...
  • Big Eater: Woog.
  • Bowel-Breaking Bricks: Overlaps with The Immodest Orgasm in a very odd way. "Laying an egg" is used as a term of romantic endearment, but also to describe how impressed Elsa was by the sauerkraut.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: A mild example pops up when Louie meets Cecilia because you don't expect to hear this line in an animated kids movie and it's said so casually:
    Louie: Come on, big eyes you're killing me. What's the matter?
    Cecilia: It's Thanksgiving.
    Louie: So? What's there to cry about? You don't like turkey?
    Cecilia: No, it's my parents.
    Louie: What about your parents? Do they beat you?
  • Broken Aesop: The "family is important" moral wrapped around the movie isn't actually supported by Rex's story at all and seems tacked on because we hadn't learned anything yet.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Louie talks more like a wannabe tough kid from the 1920s than your typical 90s kid.
  • Carnivore Confusion: A very strange variant. Predation is frowned upon, but Brain Grain Cereal apparently teaches a herbivorous Triceratops to eat HOT DOGS.. Tofu, we hope. One line of dialogue could have reassured us here.
    • There are some deeply Unfortunate Implications here. Professor Neweyes tells us that Brain Grain has essentially caused world peace in his home time, since living things that eat it will no longer harm each other at all. Given that Brain Grain also turns Rex into what amounts to a Barney rip-off, and without it, he's a vicious slavering murderbeast... well, see What Measure Is a Non-Cute? below.
  • Cat Scare
  • Cereal Induced Super Powers: Brain Grain Cereal.
  • Character Customization: When the movie first came out, Louie used to have some of his teeth missing and Cecilia's hair color used to be dirty blond with a red tint. But then the direct-to-DVD reissue of the movie decided to have Louie's mouth being edited to show his teeth in its entirety and Cecilia's hair color being changed to just dirty blond without any tint or color mixed in.
  • Character Development: Louie learns to be less of a pushy "tough guy," and not to be so insecure in his masculinity, allowing female figures in his life like his mutual crush Cecelia and his mother to show affection to him in public.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Elsa gives Louie an excellent one when he tauntingly asks if she can fly. Then, she demonstrates for him.
  • Circus of Fear: Professor Screweyes' circus is so unnerving that someone made an effective AMV of Mr. Crowley using it.
  • Concert Kiss: Louie and Cecilia near the end of the movie.
  • Cooldown Hug: Pretty blatant example, actually.
  • Cool Old Guy: Captain Neweyes.
  • Conspicuous CG: Most notably during the scene with Louie's flight on Elsa's back across the city.
  • Crowd Song: "Roll Back The Rock".
  • Deal with the Devil: When the kids made the contract with the Big Bad Professor Screweyes they had to sign it with their blood.
  • Death by Irony / No Body Left Behind: Screweyes getting devoured by his own crows.
  • Deranged Animation
  • Deus ex Machina: Convenient timing helps when you have an actual Time Machine. But then again, couldn't he have arrived before the heroes got trapped in the evil circus?
  • Devolution Device: Screweyes' Brain Drain pills that he created in response to Neweyes' Brain Grain cereal, which he uses to briefly transform the kids into chimpanzees and revert the dinosaurs to their pre-Brain Grain forms. Which are violent and monstrous. Huh.
  • Devoured by the Horde: Screweyes gets eaten by his trained crows, which completely cover his body then fly away, leaving nothing at all.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The crows who are present whenever Prof. Screweyes appears in the movie seem to dislike him for some reason. so when he's left alone they ttake the chance to eat him alive.
  • Dumb Dinos: Rex and the other dinosaurs are portrayed as stupid, mindlessly violent monsters without the effects of Brain Grain, playing the trope straight.
  • Evil Twin: Or evil brother, as Screweyes is to Neweyes. Whether they're twins or just brothers is never revealed, though they do look a lot alike.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: According to most of the kids, it would be. On the other hand, the fact that some kids and virtually all adults are scared of actual dinosaurs running about is why Screweyes wants to get his hands on the heroes. Subverted when he does get his hands on the protagonists and turns them mean with his evil pills. They indeed become dangerous, and when he releases Rex from his chains the latter almost eats him.
  • Face Your Fears: It's implied that Screweyes keeps crows near him despite being afraid of them, a Circus of Fear, and wants to get his hands on the dinosaurs just to control them because he wants to face and control his own fears, which would consume him otherwise. In the end, that's exactly what happens.
  • Faux Horrific: Louie tells a distraught, criminally neglected Cecelia that he ran away from home because his mother is always slobbers kisses all over him... in public!
  • Flashback: The whole movie is this, with Rex telling his story to a bird he met at a golf course.
  • Force Feeding: How Neweyes gets the dinosaurs to take Brain Grain in the first place.
  • Gentle Giant: Rex, Woob and Dweeb.
  • G-Rated Mental Illness: Averted with Screweyes, whose implied mental illness is depicted as very disturbing, and often dangerous.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Rex is nude for the flashback making up the movie, but in the present is wearing a white golfing shirt.
  • Hellish Pupils: The slot in Screweyes' screw-eye is positioned vertically to give it this effect, and is sometimes shown as being elliptical like a cat's eye. It even moves in his socket like a normal eye would just before the crows attack him.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Professor Screweyes' screw eye. It is able to hypnotize people, despite the fact that it's only a screw thrust in his eyesocket.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Louie says as much to Rex when he nearly kills Prof. Screweyes at the end, claiming that there are some bad people out there who make life miserable for others, and that Rex doesn't have to be like that by killing and eating the professor.
  • Insult Backfire: Louie's "What are you, some kind of a debutante?" to Cecilia. Turns out she is, and it's also the moment his crush on her begins.
  • Informed Ability: Much of Neweyes' plan (and the film's plot) hinges on the dinosaurs' apparent intelligence and abilities — to navigate New York City, to handle the modern world, to make up their own minds about what they want to do with their lives. In reality, they're extremely childlike and naive, and this nearly winds up being their undoing. Leading to...
  • Informed Attribute: The dinosaurs are supposedly much more intelligent on Brain Grain. While they are able to talk like humans, they often come across as more naive, childlike, slow-thinking, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, whereas in their natural state they seem more cunning in a predatory way.
  • Interspecies Romance: Elsa is very straightforward about her crush on Rex, much to his initial discomfort. Whether or not he returns her feelings in the end is sort of hard to tell.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Screweyes has an agreement with Stubbs the clown — if Stubbs can make him laugh, he'll put his act in the show. And while this is indeed leading the poor guy on, the fact still remains that Screweyes' circus is not a goofy clown kind of circus in any way, shape, or form.
  • Just Eat Him: One of the dinosaurs did consider doing this to Screweyes, until he brought up the fact that since the dinosaurs are smarter now, they should act civil. Later, when they aren't so civil, Rex was this close to eating Screweyes, but much to the dismay of a couple of people, The Power of Love prevents him from doing so.
  • Karma Houdini: Captain Neweyes. While it's true that Professor Screweyes is a twisted individual, Neweyes was the one who thought bringing dinosaurs to present-day New York was a good idea. It wasn't. Their appearance causes a panic, they run amok as they try to escape the NYPD, and Screweyes gets a hold of 'em and nearly gets eaten for his trouble. While everything works out in the end, the fact that Neweyes is responsible for all the following chaos is never addressed.
  • Knight of Cerebus: After Screweyes and his Circus Of Fear shows up the movie takes on a decidedly darker turn. The villain is genuinely charismatic and the goofy dinosaurs are no longer funny, even before he turns them monstrous. While it is in no way an appropriate direction for this silly kid's film to take, for older viewers who are into weird animation, it's the best part of the movie — but it is also short.
  • Light Is Good / Dark Is Evil: Captain Neweyes and Professor Screweyes, full stop.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Cecilia.
  • The Long List: Stubb's quitting speech.
  • Mad Scientist: Both Neweyes and Screweyes qualify.
  • Magically Binding Contract: Doubles as a Blood Oath.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Professor Screweyes.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Doctor Bleeb.
  • Mood Whiplash: When Screweyes gets involved.
  • My Beloved Smother: Louie claims his mother is this trope as his reason for running away, but to hear him describe it, it sounds more like he's just massively insecure in his own masculinity.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer gave the impression that Screweye's role as the "Master of Fear" would have been more prominent and that the dinosaurs only appeared monstrous during his act as the result of his machine. Screweyes is only in the movie during the last 25 minutes or so and is more of a pathetic, ineffectual villain, and the dinosaurs actually turned evil as the result of his Brain Drain pills.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Stubbs.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: On the bird mother.
  • Obviously Evil: Professor Screweyes, full stop.
  • Parental Abandonment: Cecilia's parents are never around, and don't even take her on vacation with them. In contrast, Louie is the one abandoning his parents, as apparently he was embarrassed of his mother showering him with affection at every opportunity.
  • Parental Bonus: "Oh, hello madam...oh, sir!"
  • Polar Opposite Twins: While it's never confirmed if they're twins or just brothers, Neweyes and Screweyes look very similar and have complete opposite personalities.
  • The Power of Love: Can turn ferocious, monstrous dinosaurs into cuddly, dorky dinosaurs.
  • Puppy Love: Louie and Cecilia.
  • Random Events Plot
  • Reality Ensues: After the whole "Roll Back the Rock (To the Dawn of Time)" number everyone in New York realizes those dinosaurs AREN'T animatronic and, understandably terrified, panic in the streets.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Louie believes this at first, as he leaves home because his mother embarrasses him by slobbering kisses all over him, and refuses to kiss or show affection to Cecelia because he's been led to believe that showing any sentimentality is "unmanly."
  • Redemption Rejection: Professor Screweyes is offered a chance to renounce his ways and join Professor Neweyes. He declines.
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: Professor Screweyes, owner of Professor Screweyes' Eccentric Circus, the purpose of which is to frighten people instead of entertaining them.
  • Restraining Bolt: Brain Grain. It "civilizes" the dinosaurs to the point where simply disregarding Screweyes' contract with the children is unthinkable; they'd rather allow harm to come to themselves. It's loosely implied that this is where the intergalactic peace in Neweyes' far future originates.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: The dinosaurs land on Louie's raft just as he's making a breakfast sandwich with one.
  • The Runaway: Louie, soon joined by Cecilia.
  • Save the Villain: Louie saves Prof. Screweyes from being eaten by Rex at the end.
  • Shout-Out: To Jurassic Park, which is showing at a theater in Times Square.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Elsa is the only female in the prehistoric posse.
  • Snub by Omission: An unintentional one on the part of Earth's children. During the wish radio scene, all the dinosaurs are specifically requested by species, with the exception of Dweeb — "his" child longs to see an apatosaurus. He doesn't seem to take offense.
  • Stock Dinosaurs
    • Tyrannosaurus rex - “Rex”
    • Triceratops - “Woog”
    • Parasaurolophus - “Dweeb”
    • Pteranodon - “Elsa”
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Especially at the beginning of the movie, where Buster the bird is quite accepting of the fact that Rex is playing golf in front of his tree.
  • Trouser Space: Stubbs pulls this stunt near the end of the film. The best part is he gets the laughter he had so much sought while giving Professor Screweyes his I Quit Speech
  • Uplifted Animal: Neweyes can do this, Screweyes can do it backwards.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Professor Screweyes, whose a stark contrast to his brother.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: And it is wikkid Anvilicious about this too. The dinosaurs are turned into Barney Expies when they're "tamed". Once Professor Screweyes gets a hold of them, they turn ferocious and terrifying... but Rex's "normal" form in the beginning is ridiculously monstrous already.
    • Let's not even get into the irony that comes from the fact that when they become intelligent, they wind up looking, well, really dumb. In their feral forms, they look more clever and respectable than they do as Happy Meal toys. Huh?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When the group is boarding the ship to leave Screweyes' circus, Neweyes says that he has a surprise for them. Unless he was referring to the five minute ride to the museum, we never do learn what the surprise was.
    • At the end of the movie, what happened to the circus full of people? First Neweyes shows up in his ship, then Stubbs quits with an Overly Long List of grievances that makes the audience laugh, then Neweyes, the dinoaurs and the kids fly away, and then Screweyes is suddenly, inexplicably left alone in the whole circus. Did everyone quietly shuffle out between Stubbs leaving and Neweyes lifting off five seconds later?
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Louie and Cecilia are reunited with their parents through a series of photos.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Louie tells this to Rex at the climax, before healing him with a Cool Down Hug.

Alternative Title(s): Were Back A Dinosaurs Story

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/WereBackADinosaursStory