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

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"Roll back the rock to the dawn of time and sing this song with me!"

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story was Steven Spielberg's other 1993 dinosaur movie (although he only executive-produced this animated feature), very, very loosely adapted from the 1987 children's book of the same name by Hudson Talbott, and produced by Spielberg's short-lived animation studio Amblimation. It is written by John Patrick Shanley, and directed by Dick and Ralph Zondag along with Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells.

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.

We're Back! contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • To Julia Child ("Really, just a recipe for delightful!"), and Walter Cronkite a couple of seconds later ("And that's the way it is!").
    • Captain Neweyes uses a magical radio and helms a gigantic ship. In real life, Walter Cronkite was a devoted ham radio operator (callsign KB2GSD) and an avid sailor.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The only dinosaur to retain his color from the original book was Rex. Originally, Woog was light green, Dweeb was purple, and Elsa was light beige. Their colors were changed to blue, lime green, and purple respectively.
  • 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. It is well worth it to hunt around for Talbott's sequel book, Going Hollywood. The story has Rex and pals go to Hollywood to have their life story made into a movie.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the original book, Dr. Bleeb's given name was "Miriam" while in the film it is "Juliet." Also, the hadrosaur's name was Jorbi and the Pteranodon's name was Pteri. They were changed to Dweeb and Elsa, respectively.
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • The hadrosaur in the original book was a Saurolophus, but in the film, Dweeb appears to be a Parasaurolophus. (Despite the similar-sounding names, the two species are from different parts of the hadrosaur family tree.)
    • Vorb in the book was a lizard-like creature, but in the film, he's a little green man.
  • Adapted Out: In the original book, there were seven dinosaurs instead of just four. The other three were a Brontosaurus named Bigon, a Stegosaurus named Spikenote , and a Deinonychus named Dwig (the book was written before Velociraptor displaced Deinonychus as the best-known dromaeosaur).
  • Affection-Hating Kid: Louie, a young boy in New York, attempts to run away from home and join the circus, later revealing his motivation for doing so being that his mother was overly affectionate in public, and he was running due to embarrassment.
    "You should have my mother, slobbering kisses all over me. In public!"
  • Anthropomorphic Transformation: Captain Neweyes' Brain Grain turns the dinosaurs from realistic-looking beasts to stylized big-eyed cartoon characters.
  • 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. Never mind that a big part of the reason kids like dinosaurs is because they're cool and scary-looking, not because they're cute.
    • Small potatoes in comparison, but pterosaurs aren't freakin' dinosaurs. It doesn't help that Elsa looks nothing like a Pteranodon, having smooth purple skin devoid of pycnofibers, a long Rhamphorynchus-like tail, and bat-like wings combined with hands at the top. Interestingly enough, the Pteranodon in the book was relatively accurate based on what we knew about pterosaurs during the 80s. Very slightly downplayed with her primal form, which at the very least appears to dispense with the bat-like wing fingers and has somewhat more logical body proportions.
    • Woog and Dweeb, a plant-eating Triceratops and Parasaurolophus respectively, are both seen eating hot dogs, and Woog later salivates over the contents of a delicatessen. While there's some evidence that ornithischians ate meat occasionally (ornithopods supplemented their herbivorous diet with mussels and crabs, and ceratopsians may have scavenged on carcasses from time to time), the creators couldn't have known this at the time.
    • Rex has three functional fingers in each hand, despite Tyrannosaurus having only two in real life. Also, his posture zigzags between the upright, old timey T. rex style and the horizontal-leaning way that is seen as accurate today.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Professor Screweyes wants to have real dinosaurs to scare people in his circus. This proves to be a bad idea when Rex nearly eats him.
  • Big Applesauce: Most of the film is set in New York City.
  • Big Bad: Proffessor Screweyes is the main antagonist of the film, even our dinosaur protagonists called him a bad guy when they saw a poster of him on the street.
  • Big Eater: Woog. He even lampshades this when introducing himself to Cecilia.
    I'm hungry! I mean, I'm Woog.
  • Big "NEVER!": Professor Screweyes when he turns down Neweyes' offer to redeem himself.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Louie talks more like a wannabe tough kid from the 1920s than your typical 90s kid.
  • 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.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Louie gets a look at the dinosaurs feral, caged, and chained and realizes out loud that it's because of him, Stubbs cuts in with a rather blunt, "I guess so."
  • Canon Foreigner: Captain Neweyes, the kids, Professor Screweyes... practically every character outside of the dinosaurs, Vorb, and Dr. Bleeb was created for the film and not in the book.
  • Carnivore Confusion: A very strange variant. Predation is frowned upon, but Brain Grain Cereal apparently teaches a herbivorous Triceratops and Parasaurolophus to eat HOT DOGS. While the ones aboard Neweyes' ship may have plausibly been tofu dogs, the mouthful Woog happily eats while escaping through New York City most likely weren't.
    • There are some deeply unfortunate implications here. Captain 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: When Louie and Cecilia explore Screweyes' circus, a random stray cat briefly runs past them while screeching loudly.
  • Cereal-Induced Superpowers: Brain Grain Cereal.
  • 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 Cecilia 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.
  • Circling Vultures: The minute Screweyes is alone with no one left to scare, the crows waste no time in circling him buzzard-style before converging on him to seal his fate. For bonus points, crows are scavengers, just like vultures.
  • Circus of Fear: Professor Screweyes' circus is so unnerving that someone made an effective AMV of Mr. Crowley using it.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: A female circus patrol who jumps in fright at the sight of Cecilia's monster costume.
  • Concert Kiss: Louie and Cecilia kiss each other near the end of the movie.
  • Cool Old Guy: Captain Neweyes. Professor Screweyes is an evil example.
  • Creator Cameo: One of the people fleeing from the parade resembles Steven Spielberg. He's even wearing an Amblin hat and a Jurassic Park shirt.
  • Creepy Crows: Professor Screweyes keeps a whole flock of them around, with the reason why being revealed in a Deleted Scene. They're the ones responsible for his demise in the end.
  • 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: Screweyes getting devoured by his own crows.
  • Demoted to Extra: Neweyes was created for the movie and so Vorb, the genius behind the whole Brain Grain and sending the dinosaurs to the Museum of Natural History plan in the original book, has a smaller role.
  • Deus ex Machina: Convenient timing helps when you have an actual Time Machine. But then again, couldn't Neweyes 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, except for his screw-eye.
  • 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 take 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. And even after they get the ability to talk and become tame thanks to the Brain Grain, they still act in a an overly innocent and almost babyish manner.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Though he doesn't warn them first, Screweyes gives Louie and Cecilia the chance to back out of wanting to join the circus as they're just kids who won't realize the repercussions of doing so until it's too late. It eventually dips into reverse psychology territory, but the first few times he tells them to buzz off, he appears quite sincere.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Cecilia curtsies to the dinos when introducing herself. Elsa comments on how well she was brought up.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Big Bad, Professor Screweyes, is as elderly as his kind-hearted brother Captain Neweyes, and he is the Repulsive Ringmaster of his own Eccentric Circus, who turns Louie and Cecilia (who are children) into chimps with his Brain Drain, and forces the dinosaurs to sacrifice their new-found intelligence and become his devolved, savage attractions to avoid the kids suffering the same fate.
  • 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 and appear at least roughly the same age.
  • Eye Recall: Happens several times, to the point that it gets disorientating. Perhaps the creepiest use is in the deleted scene where Screweyes recalls how a crow pecked out his eye, leading to a close-up shot of the screw thrust in his eye socket reflecting the crow pecking out said eye. Brrr...
  • Eyeball-Plucking Birds: A variant. The main villain, Professor Screweyes, has a screw in the place of his left eye. In the end he is covered by crows who eat him and then disperse. Afterwards, we get a closeup of the screw as a final crow snaps it up and flies away.
  • 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 Cecilia that he ran away from home because his mother is always slobbering kisses all over public!
    • During the Circus of Fear sequence, we're treated several times to shots of bored employees controlling the smoke and lights and indicators that the ghouls are actors in costumes, ostensibly to prove how "silly" the circus is. The movie can't decide whether the circus's main problem is that it's a legitimately dangerous place rife with demonic magic or that it isn't.
  • Flashback: The whole movie is this, with Rex telling his story to a baby bird he met at a golf course.
  • Forced Transformation: 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.
  • Force Feeding: How Neweyes gets the dinosaurs to take Brain Grain in the first place. In a deleted scene, Screweyes fires cannons of Brain Drain down the dinosaurs' throats to devolve them.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Most of the humans are depicted with five-fingered hands. The only characters to avert this rule are Stubbs the Clown, who for some reason only has four fingers on each hand, and also Dr. Julia Bleeb. Also, Louie and Cecilia who are transformed into apes by Professor Screweyes, but regain their five-fingered hands when they revert back into humans.
  • Framing Device: The story is told by a golf-playing Rex to a bird named Buster, why initially wants to fly out of the nest from his teasing brothers and join the circus. At the end, Buster is returned home where he happily accepts his life as a Mama's Bird despite being taunted.
  • Freudian Excuse: A deleted scene reveals that Professor Screweyes became mad and adopted his cynical outlook of life after, when he was a child, a crow pecked out his left eye (hence the reason why there is a screw now).
  • Furry Reminder: Whenever she's scared or surprised, Elsa screeches and squeals like a pterosaur would have done. Otherwise, she has a rather sultry voice most of the time.
  • Gender Flip: While the genders of the dinosaurs in the book were never specified outside of Rex, the Pteranodon had no Tertiary Sexual Characteristics, implying it was meant to be male. However, in the movie, Elsa is female.
  • Gentle Giant: Rex, Woog and Dweeb. Averted with Rex in his savage state, as he is a Tyrannosaurus, and would have eaten Professor Screweyes if Louie hadn't stopped him.
  • 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.
    • When Louie is turned into a monkey, everything he wears from the waist down disappears, leaving him only with his jacket, shirt and hat.
  • 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 eye socket.
  • 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.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Cecilia's mother has one in the photo of her parents on vacation, where she sports huge breasts and hips (which her bikini bottom appears to be visibly digging into), and a waist that can't be more than twice as wide as her neck. When she reappears (again in still form) in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, she is drawn with a less exaggerated figure, but she still has a tiny waist and Hartman Hips (especially noticeable in profile).
  • 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 naïve, 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 instead come across as way too ingenuous, innocent, infantile, slow-thinking, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, whereas in their natural state they seem more cunning in a predatory way. Rex and Elsa seem more mature and eloquent than Woog and Dweeb, but even this isn't saying much, as Woog and Dweeb are quite frankly, complete morons.
    • As is made clear numerous times, the audience is meant to see the devolved forms of the dinosaurs as Prehistoric Monsters. However, while they certainly look fearsome, they mostly just come across as reacting the way any animal would to being chained up and subjected to flashing lights/loud noises against their will. Not helped by the fact that, aside from Rex's attempt on Screweyes (who deserves it in any case), we never actually see them hurting anyone in this state.
  • 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.
  • 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. He doesn't seem particularly happy when she makes more blatant advances at him, however.
  • It's All My Fault: It's never outright said, but this is Louie's reaction after he sees the dinosaurs in their savage state, and Stubbs explains the deal they had made with Screweyes.
    Louie: So they're this way… 'cause of me?
  • 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, Rex the Tyrannosaurus rex did consider doing this to Screweyes after he devolved Louie and Cecilia into monkeys, 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 genuinely eating Screweyes, but much to the dismay of a couple of people, The Power of Love prevents him from doing so.
  • Knight of Cerebus: After Screweyes and his Circus of Fear show 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.
  • Luminescent Blush: A parade marching band member blows a whistle hard and long, and his skin turns into a dark shade of red as he does this.
  • Mad Artist: Professor Screweyes operates a Circus of Fear with impressive visuals. He intends to use the dinosaurs to enhance it further.
  • Mad Scientist: Both Neweyes and Screweyes qualify.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: Doubles as a Blood Oath.
  • Magic Pants: Louie’s jacket, shirt, and hat, and Cecilia’s dress are unaffected when Screweyes’s Brain Drain temporarily devolves them into monkeys. They become barefoot when they’re monkeys, with Louie losing his jeans on top of this, but when they change back into humans, they’re both fully dressed again.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Caused by motion when a lady circus patron reacts by leaping due to a monster-costumed Cecilia scaring her with a roar.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The citizens at the parade are utterly shocked when they realize that there are real dinosaurs.
  • Meaningful Name: "Dweeb" is a term for a boring, foolish or socially inept person and foolish fits the character Dweeb to a T.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Multiple times, while searching for the dinosaurs, Doctor Bleeb will move right past them on her motorbike and completely miss them. It's especially jarring during the parade when she places a museum poster right on Woog's leg and still doesn't notice him. Of course, given her age, it's reasonable to assume that she's simply nearsighted.
  • Morton's Fork: Invoked by Professor Screweyes when he has Louie and Cecilia in his clutches. He uses his Brain Drain pills to devolve them into mindless chimps, then tells the dinosaurs that if they agree to take the pills themselves and revert to ferocious monsters for his circus, he'll set the kids free. The dinosaurs are thus forced to decide between retaining their intelligence but knowing that the children they love will be subjected to horrific tortures, or saving them but giving up their own development in the process. They unanimously choose the latter.
  • 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 Screweyes' 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 doesn't appear until 35 minutes in 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: Hilariously enough in a Circus of Fear where you most expect to find a Monster Clown, the clown is actually the only nice person around. Stubbs is a kind guy who just wants to make people laugh.
  • Oh, Crap!: Screweyes gasps in shock when he is about to get Devoured by the Horde of trained crows.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: The ending photo montage of Louie and Cecilia illustrates that they are now officially a couple with a picture of him giving her a rowboat ride.
  • Ominous Hair Loss: An elderly female spectator suffers this at the circus in horrified reaction to the now mind-controlled and wild dinosaurs.
  • 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. In the end, however both of them resolve their issues with their parents.
  • 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.
  • Power-Up Food: Brain Grain cereal, created by Captain Neweyes, boosts the intelligence of anyone who eats it.
  • Properly Paranoid: Before the parade, Louie reasons that mass panic would ensue if they ever see real dinosaurs. It turns out he was right.
  • Random Events Plot: A talking dino playing golf meets and befriends a talking baby bird on a park and things just keep getting more bizarre.
  • 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 Cecilia 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.
  • 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.
  • Reused Character Design:
  • Rube Goldberg Device: The dinosaurs land on Louie's raft just as he's making a breakfast sandwich with one.
  • Save the Villain: Louie saves Prof. Screweyes from being eaten by Rex at the end.
  • Screaming Woman: A female circus patron's reaction to Cecilia in her monster costume roaring at her. After getting literally jumpy, the former backs away, shrieks, and hurriedly flees as she zigzags inside the tent.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: Rex, holding his introduction medal upside-down, misreads "My name is Rex" as "Xer si eman ym."
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Louie and Cecilia reverting into monkeys while the audience sees Rex, Elsa, Woog, and Dweeb's horrified expressions. Again, when the kids first see the dinosaurs in their wild states, only Woog is shown directly. Elsa, Dweeb, and Rex appear as shadows on the wall, screaming and fighting their chains.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
  • Spiky Hair: A group of punkers who Louie and Cecilia come across while heading to the circus.
  • Terrifying Tyrannosaur: Prior to being force-fed Captain Neweyes' Brain Grain cereal, Rex was — in his own words — a "stupid and violent" predator shown chasing a tiny reptile. While he is rendered benevolent and intelligent thanks to the cereal's effects, Professor Screweyes uses his Brain Drain pills to revert Rex to his feral state and makes him the star attraction in his Circus of Fear specifically to invoke this, and is almost eaten as a result.
  • Terrified Transformation Witness: Professor Screweyes uses his brain drain pills on Louie and Cecilia to devolve the kids from humans into monkeys, with the dinosaurs watching in horror at the sight (though the only thing the audience sees of this are the shadows cast on Rex's underbelly). The sight of this convinces the dinosaurs to make a deal with Screweyes to revert the children back to normal, at the cost of all four of them becoming savage beasts again.
  • Time Traveler's Dinosaur: Much like in the book the film is based off of, the story is about a group of dinosaurs that were made sapient through Power-Up Food and brought to the present in a Time Machine to go to the Museum of Natural History.
  • Token Flyer: Elsa the Pteranodon is the only major character who can fly (not counting Vorb, who can fly thanks to the propeller on his suit).
  • Token Minority: Elsa the Pteranodon. Of the Mesozoic quartet, she, a pterosaur, is the only member that is a non-dinosaur reptile. Doesn't stop everyone from mistakenly calling her a flying dinosaur, sadly.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The dinosaurs all love hot dogs, though Woog and Dweb love them especially. Dweb boasted that they collectively ate two hundred and fifty in a single day, "and that's with everything!"
  • 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.
  • Unanthropomorphic Transformation: The dinosaurs started out as reasonably realistic when they were their original mindless savage selves. Once they took Brain Grain and became sentient, they transformed into more cuddly, animated versions of themselves. Upon taking Brain Drain they became mindless and "realistic" again.
  • 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.
    • "Say... Ain't you a dinosaur?" note 
  • Uplifted Animal: With copious amounts of his Brain Grain cereal, Captain Neweyes was able to give the dinosaurs full sapience and the ability to speak English. Professor Screweyes created a drug called Brain Drain that can reverse the effects.
  • Uptown Girl: Louie and Cecilia's mutual crush turned relationship can be seen as this. Although we never see his home, Louie's dressed as though he's from a working-class background. Meanwhile, we meet Cecilia on the balcony of her family's penthouse apartment, clearly showcasing their enormous wealth.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: A cutesy film about dinosaurs being sent to our time to make children happy. Nothing scary about that at all. Well, except for the creepy old mad scientist Professor Screweyes, who runs a Circus of Fear, has children sign a contract in their own blood, and is eaten by birds at the end of the film.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: And it is wikkid Anvilicious about this, too. The dinosaurs are turned into animated versions when they're "tamed". Once Professor Screweyes gets a hold of them, they revert to their previous states, which are repeatedly made out to be "stupid and violent." That wild animals don't like being hungry, irritated, force fed cereal, or chained to a platform and subjected to flashing lights is a thought that never materializes.
    • 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?
    • Possible Fridge Brilliance: it would be in character for Screweyes to hype the "unevolved" dinosaurs as ferocious and terrifying — with the aid of dramatic lighting and Scare Chords — when they are just angry and scared for being in chains.
  • 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 confirmed to be a couple and 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 Cooldown Hug.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: When the dinosaurs are dropped from Neweyes' ship, Rex holds on to the ship and says this trope nearly verbatim.
  • Your Size May Vary: The dinosaurs have this problem in general, but Rex is the biggest offender. He fluctuates from being between 8 and 30 feet tall depending on the shot, although he tends to skew on the smaller side.


Video Example(s):


Rex on Brain Grain

A Tyrannosaurus rex gets fed a brain enhancing cereal and not only gains the ability to talk but his features become far more cartoony with human like eyes.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnthropomorphicTransformation

Media sources: