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 animal-people. It's 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 anthro T. rex's murder.
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, 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.
- Because Destiny Says So: The Big Bad 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- Da Chief: The Commissioner.
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons: When the Toymaker, who happens to be chinese (sigh) sees Theddy, he mockingly calls him a dragon (sigh).
- 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.
- Gratuitous Ninja: Apparently there's a "Ninja Grid" in addition to the "Dinosaur Grid."
- Harmless Freezing: Kane's cryogenic technologies can keep living beings in suspended animation.
- Insult Backfire: SubvertedKatie Coltrane: Are you The Toymaker?
The Toymaker: I've been called many things.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Incidentally, don't look forward to there being any explanation as to why there are anthropomorphic animals. In some scenes, it appears that they may be aliens, and they have their own society and culture. But in others, it is implied that Theo and friends were grown in a lab or something.
- Love Interest: Molly Rex, a female Tyrannosaurus singer is this for Theodore. She doesn't get many scenes, though.
- People in Rubber Suits: Half the cast really. Theo himself is designed just a hair better then 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 has an unique dispenser which shoots a cookie at him every morning before he leaves his house. His Love Interest, Molly Rex, seemingly shares his taste in food.
- 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.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Kane, the Big Bad. He wants to start a new Ice Age and essentially start civilization over from there.