Goldberg only completed the movie because New Line Cinema threatened to sue her if she walked off the film (after seeing Kim Basinger get sued into bankruptcy after the fiasco that was Boxing Helena, she decided she could live with the shame if it meant keeping the lights on). Theodore Rex was initially intended as a theatrical release but went straight to home video instead, making it the most expensive direct-to-video picture before the advent of Netflix. That's certainly something to keep in mind if you dare to watch it.
You know that Super Mario Bros. movie? Theodore Rex is very similar, and arguably even stranger.
According to an Opening Scroll, the story is set in a Dark and Edgy Cyberpunk city "A long time ago in the future" (really), where humans coexist with anthropomorphic dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals that have been resurrected and genetically modified by well-known billionaire and scientist Elizar Kane. It's esentially a buddy cop movie with dinosaurs. Theodore is an anthro Tyrannosaurus rex who wants to be a cop. He gets his chance when he is partnered with Katie Coltrane (Goldberg) to solve another the murder of another anthro T.rex named Oliver.
Then things get weirder.
An extensive review, with links to other reviews, can be found here. While the film isn't the best quality, the confusion and sheer randomness of the onscreen action is actually kind of impressive. Just when you think the movie can't get any more insane... it does. It really does. That helps it stand alongside Santa Claus (1959), Manos: The Hands of Fate, Birdemic and The Room on the very thin border between So Bad, It's Good and So Bad It's Horrible.
Compare Howard the Duck. Not to be confused with a notable biography of Theodore Roosevelt. Not to be confused with Anonymous Rex, which is a book series that, coincidentally, is about a dinosaur detective solving crimes amongst humans.
- Abhorrent Admirer:
Coltrane: Are you thinkin' you're gonna get somebody? Not tonight buddy!
- While she's at the dinosaur cantina, Coltrane encounters a drunken, anthro Protoceratops who is immediately smitten by her and wolf-whistles at her. After a while, she also comes across an anthro Ceratosaurus with a big, toothy grin who's far more blatant in his advances, whom she rejects in a mocking way.
- At the end, during the ceremony congratulating Teddy for succesfully stopping Kane and his associates, the anthro Proto from before is among the attendees and wolf-whistles at Coltrane when he sees her again, much to her annoyance.
- Action Girl: Katie Coltrane, natch. Say what you want about the movie, the girl does have a handful of moments where she proves her badassery.
- Adult Fear: In order to bring Teddy and Coltrane to him, Kane has Spinner kidnap two individuals they value the most: A lover (Molly Rex) and a child (Sebastian), respectively.
- Because Destiny Says So: Kane clearly sides with the nature side of the "nurture vs. nature" debate."The genetic code [is] the map of our destiny, and we are all slaves to our DNA".
- Big Bad: Billionaire Elizar Kane is the primary mastermind beneath the movie's suspicious events as well as Spinner's criminal activities, all in his pursue to unleash a nuclear missile named "New Eden" which will create a new Ice Age that will destroy the planet, so he can create his own vision of the Garden of Eden and start things anew. In case you didn't knew, the introductory text to the movie pretty much says it right at the beginning.
- The Big Board: You can clearly see in the background for a scene at a police station that it tries for some neopunk style version of the giant battlemap with young waifs pushing units around with croupier rakes. However the overblown size and odd dress code means that it looks more like the Olympic curling team are pushing around Hershey's Kisses.
- Character Development: Coltrane starts out the film as being just as prejudiced toward anthro-saurs as every other human, but she eventually warms up to Teddy and sees him as a genuine friend, while Teddy himself begins building up more and more confidence and is ultimately the one to undo and expose Kane's Evil Plan to the world.
- Carnivore Confusion: Apparently, anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurs subsist entirely on... milk and cookies. He calls himself a "recovering carnivore", going under the type where carnivorism in talking-animal land is akin to alcoholism.
- Co-Dragons: Spinner and Dr. Veronica Shade are Kane's top henchmen, and Spinner in turn leads a small band of criminals who aid him. While Spinner seems to be the one in charge of criminal operations and anything regarding brute force, Kane ultimately regards him as another pathetic, petty thief and later has Shade callously kill Spinner when he is of no more use to Kane's schemes.
- Cyborg: Coltrane is revealed to be one when Kane shoots her and causes her circuits to malfunction, leaving her unable to fight for the rest of the climax. Pressumably, other policemen have been mechanically modified as well. It is the future, after all.
- Da Chief: The Commissioner.
- Damsel in Distress: When Molly is taking a bath at her apartment, she's suddenly surprised by Spinner and Kane's henchmen, who quickly kidnap her. Later on, it is eventually revealed they took her to the New Eden industries where she was put in cryogenic stasis.
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons: When the Toymaker, who happens to be asian (sigh) sees Theddy, he mockingly calls him a dragon (sigh).
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: After Sebastian is kidnapped and held hostage at a basement in Kane's laboratories, he finds a chimpanzee living in the place and quickly becomes friends with it, eventually adopting it as a pet after Coltrane saves him and the chimp. What is a chimpanzee doing in the basement of an evil lair in the first place? It's just as random as many other things in this movie.
- Every Car Is a Pinto
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Um... this is actually one of the more notable exceptions.
- Fantastic Racism: Humans don't like the anthropomorphic animals. Just because they aren't human, we guess; it's never really explored in the movie.
- Gasshole: Theodore Rex did not just butt trumpet.
- Flat Character: Molly Rex is meant to be Teddy's Love Interest, but she barely gets any characterization beyond working as a singer at a local bar, being a Nice Girl, enjoying cookies as much as Teddy does and being a Damsel in Distress.
- Gratuitous Ninja: Apparently there's a "Ninja Grid" in addition to the "Dinosaur Grid."
- Harmless Freezing: Kane's cryogenic technologies can keep living beings frozen in suspended animation without any apparent ill effects.
- Human Popsicle: Kane's technologies specialize on this. Specifically, he has frozen a couple of every single known animal species on Earth which he plans to reawaken after the New Eden missile destroys the world so he can repopulate the planet with them. It is also how Teddy defeats Dr. Shade. When she holds him at gunpoint near the cryogenic chamber designated for him telling him to get inside, Teddy tricks her into opening the door of the chamber for him, which she does, at which point Teddy quickly hits her with his tail and rapidly closes the door, just as the freezing process begins and imprisons Shade inside. Teddy also discovers that Kane and his henchmen succesfully did this to Molly when she was kidnapped, much to his despair, but after he unknowingly causes the cryo-chamber's door to malfunction with his tail, Molly is thawed out and she is free to reunite with Theo.
- Insult Backfire: SubvertedKatie Coltrane: Are you The Toymaker?
The Toymaker: I've been called many things.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Coltrane can be a little rough around the edges, not to mention she shows quite a strong dislike toward Teddy being assigned as her partner for the case. However, she eventually grows genuinely fond of him and is happy to be his partner, not to mention she's a Friend to All Children and is a great buddy to a kiddo named Sebastian, who looks up to her as well. When Kane orders Spinner to kidnap Sebastian to lure Katie to him, Coltrane goes into full Mama Bear mode.
- Killer Rabbit: The small butterfly which killed Oliver Rex at the beginning by flying up to his nose and abruptly exploding is revealed to be part of a line of miniature killbots designed to look like lepidopterans created by The Toymaker on Kane's orders.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The anthro dinos and prehistoric creatures in this setting are apparently the result of Kane and his scientists resurrecting many extinct species from the past and genetically modifying them to give them human-like sapience and speech. The cherry on top of the weirdness cake is that they're also telepathic and psychic as well, but this isn't really touched upon in great detail.
- Love Interest: Molly Rex, a female Tyrannosaurus singer is this for Theodore. She doesn't get many scenes, though.
- Noble Bigot: Coltrane at the beginning is sent to investigate the murder of an anthro Tyrannosaurus, yet she isn't particularly enthusiastic about being paired up with Teddy to solve the case because "he's a dinosaur!" in her own words. However, the more time she spends with him and gets to know him better, her prejudices eventually fade out and she becomes genuine friends with the guy.
- Opening Scroll: The film starts with a black screen and white text telling the movie's premise read by a narrator. One can't help but wonder if the crew realized just how utterly messed-up things were in the story.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: This bears repeating: psychic talking dinosaur cops in the future.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Kane, the Big Bad. He wants to create a new Ice Age to destroy the world and essentially start civilization over from there. However, he's actually motivated by his delusions of godhood. The fact that he judges humans as imperfect also suggests an hint of misanthropy.
- People in Rubber Suits: Half the cast really. Theo himself is designed just a hair better than Howard the Duck.
- Plot Twist: Katie is a cyborg.
- Random Events Plot: It starts with a pretty butterfly exploding in an anthro's face and just gets stranger.
- Running Gag: Theodore's swinging tail that knocks things over and his love for cookies. The swinging tail gag is more annoying than funny. And the running gag for cookies literally resorts to the shouting of the word, which is a shame.
- Starring Special Effects
- They Fight Crime!: Whoopi Goldberg + dinosaur.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Theo's love for cookies. He even own an unique dispenser which shoots a cookie at him every morning before he leaves his house, and all he has to do is shout "Cookie!" at it. His Love Interest, Molly Rex, seemingly shares his taste in food.
- Took a Level in Badass: After Katie gets injured by Kane and her cyborg mechanisms fail, Theo is forced to stop Kane's plan all by himself, which he successfully does.
- Uplifted Animal: All of the resurrected dinosaurs and prehistoric animals have been given human-like sapience and speech by Kane's experiments. Oh, and they're telepathic and psychic for some reason too.
- Vegetarian Carnivore: Theodore Rex is a "recovering" carnivore that eats mostly cookies. Apparently, "I can't believe it's not meat" hasn't been invented yet.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Spinner kidnaps Sebastian and Molly and brings Teddy and Coltrane to him, Kane decides he has no more use for the guy and orders Dr.Shade to finish Spinner off with her gun.