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We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (film)

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story is a 1993 American animated children's science fantasy adventure film, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio, distributed by Universal Pictures, and originally released to theaters on November 24, 1993 for the United States. Starring the voice talents of John Goodman, Jay Leno, Walter Cronkite, Julia Child, and Martin Short.

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story
We're Back! Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by Drew Struzan
Directed by Dick Zondag
Ralph Zondag
Phil Nibbelink
Simon Wells
Produced by Steve Hickner
Screenplay by John Patrick Shanley
Based on We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story
by Hudson Talbott
Music by James Horner
Edited by Nick Fletcher
Sim Evan-Jones
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • November 24, 1993 (1993-11-24)
Running time
72 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $9.3 million (US)

It was based on the 1987 Hudson Talbott children's book of the same name, which was narrated from the perspective of the main character, a Tyrannosaurus rex named Rex.



In present-day New York City, an Eastern bluebird named Buster (Blaze Berdahl) runs away from his siblings and he meets an intelligent orange Tyrannosaurus named Rex, who is playing golf. He explains to Buster that he was once a ravaging dinosaur, and proceeds to tell his personal story.

In a prehistoric forest, Rex is terrorizing other dinosaurs when a spaceship lands on Earth. Rex is captured and is given "Brain Grain", a special breakfast cereal that vastly increases Rex's intelligence. Rex is given his name and introduced to other dinosaurs that have been fed Brain Grain: a blue Triceratops named Woog, a purple Pteranodon named Elsa and a green Parasaurolophus named Dweeb. They soon meet Captain Neweyes, the inventor of Brain Grain, who reveals his goal of allowing the children of the present time to see real dinosaurs, fulfilling their biggest wishes. He plans to take them to Doctor Julia Bleeb who will guide them to the American Museum of Natural History. He also warns them to avoid Professor Screweyes, his insane brother.

Neweyes drops the dinosaurs off in the Hudson River in the present day, but they are unable to meet with Bleeb. Instead, they meet a young boy named Louie, who plans on running away to join the circus. Louie agrees to help the dinosaurs. Louie soon encounters a girl named Cecilia, who is miserable with her life because of her neglectful parents. She agrees to run away with Louie and help the dinosaurs.

To prevent mass panic, Louie decides that the dinosaurs need to stay hidden during their journey to the museum. He disguises them as floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. During the parade, Rex hears all the children wishing to see real dinosaurs, so he starts to sing "Roll Back the Rock (To the Dawn of Time)". When he sees the Apatosaurus balloon coming out in the parade however, Rex mistakes it for being real and hand shakes it too tight with his claws, causing its air sealer to pop open. The balloon runs out of air and falls on the dinosaurs, who are otherwise unharmed. When the audience realizes that live dinosaurs are among them, they fly into a panic and the dinosaurs escape and flee to Central Park while being pursued by police at the same time. Meanwhile, Louie and Cecilia meet Screweyes, who is running his "Eccentric Circus". Unaware of Screweyes' sinister nature, the children sign a contract to perform in his circus troupe. However, when the dinosaurs arrive at the circus, Screweyes explains that he delights in scaring people and believes that the dinosaurs would make a great addition to his circus. Using his "Brain Drain", which are pills that are the polar opposite of his brother's Brain Grain, Screweyes devolves Louie and Cecilia into chimpanzees. When he offers the dinosaurs to consume the pills and join his circus, they reluctantly accept and Screweyes releases Louie and Cecilia.

As the kids awake the next morning, they are greeted by a circus clown named Stubbs. Upon seeing the dinosaurs returned to their natural savage states, Louie and Cecilia, with the help of Stubbs, plan to sneak into the night's show and save the dinosaurs. Screweyes says he can control the now-savage Rex, and proceeds to hypnotize him. Everyone watching the show gets frightened during the performance, and many run away. However, a crow activated the flare lights, breaking Rex out of the trance on purpose. The savage Rex realizes he has been tricked, becomes enraged and tries to attack Screweyes. However, Louie steps in and desperately tells Rex that killing Screweyes will not be worth it; these impassioned pleas serve to return the dinosaurs to their kind and friendly natures. A moment later, Captain Neweyes arrives in his ship and congratulates Louie and Cecilia, who proceed to kiss in front of a whole crowd of people. Stubbs announces his resignation from Screweyes' employ. Neweyes, Louie, Cecilia and the dinosaurs board the aircraft, leaving Screweyes to be swarmed upon by the crows.

The dinosaurs spend the rest of their days in the museum, allowing children to see live dinosaurs, fulfilling their wishes. Meanwhile, Louie and Cecilia reconcile with their respective parents, and the two become a couple. In the present, Rex returns Buster to his family before leaving for the museum.

Voice castEdit


Production and development on We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story began at Universal Studios in Universal City near Los Angeles, California and Amblimation in London, United Kingdom in May 1989, which is at the time An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) was also in production. As in a five-year production schedule, it takes four years for the film to be made. In January 1990, after the film's voice actors recorded their voices for the characters, animating and filming began through storyboards, pencil tests (rough and clean-up) and ink and paint (the final version of the film) to bring the characters to life, using cameras and recorded audio. James Horner composed music for the film, including the only song "Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time)" performed by John Goodman. After four years in the making, the film was completely wrapped in the fall of 1993 (the time before the movie's theatrical release on November 24, that year).

Actor John Malkovich was originally set to voice the role of Professor Screweyes but dropped out because of disagreements with the animators' vision of the film. Upon the movie's release, Malkovich was a vocal critic of the project, arguing that the scope of the script was not fully realized and that the final product was "sub par, to say the least." To this day, Malkovich generally refuses to talk about the film. In a rare 2003 interview, Malkovich made a brief allusion to the film, saying, "Good ideas go to die in Hollywood. I worked on an animated movie about dinosaurs in New York once. It was completely bureaucratized. They took something that had art in it and put it in the laps of people that only cared about the bottom line, and look what happened." In a later portion of the interview, Malkovich went on to say, "Yeah, projects like We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story—they just make you sick. That's why I left this town. It's all about the money, the bottom line. It's disgusting."[citation needed]


To promote the film's release, a giant helium balloon of Rex the T. Rex was included in the real-life 1993 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Unfortunately, as the parade moved through Columbus Circle, high winds caught the Rex balloon and caused it to lift over the nearby sidewalk. The head of the Rex balloon struck a protruding street light and popped, but the rest of the dinosaur's body remained inflated until the end of the parade.[1]

There were also video game adaptations of the film released for the SNES, Sega Genesis and Game Boy.[2] The Game Boy version was altered in other regions to feature a different IP instead. In Sweden the game featured instead the cartoon character Bamse. In Australia, the game was called Agro Saur and featured the puppet Agro. In Europe, the game featured an original character called Baby T-Rex. A fifth version featuring Edd the Duck was to be released in the UK but was later cancelled[3] (the film was never released to UK cinemas, going directly to video in 1994).

Pizza Hut carried a series of toys. Dakin and Just Toys made stuffed animals and bendies.[citation needed]


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 38% approval rating, based on 16 reviews.[4][5] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 1 star out of 4 stars and wrote, "It's shallow and kind of dumb, and the animation is routine, and the story isn't much, and the stakes are a lot higher these days in the featurelength animation game". Variety's Daniel M. Kimmel gave the film a positive review and wrote, "In spite of narrative problems... the film's chief appeal is its central conceit -- that giant monsters... can be transformed into creatures who like to play with children".

Box officeEdit

The film grossed a total of $3,707,770 on its opening weekend and a total domestic gross of $9,315,576 in the United States, resulting in a box office bomb.[6]

Home video release historyEdit

  • March 15, 1994 (VHS)
  • May 26, 2009 (DVD)[7]
  • November 17, 2015 (Blu-ray)[8]

Aspect ratioEdit

The laserdisc release was presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio. When the film was released on DVD in some other countries, it was presented in the pan and scan format. However, the widescreen version of the film was once available at Hulu, but was removed. When the film was finally released on DVD in the United States and Canada on May 26, 2009, it was presented in its original theatrical ratio in anamorphic widescreen, being Universal/Amblin's first animated film to be presented in widescreen on a Region 1 DVD (although international DVD releases of An American Tail (which eventually received a widescreen Blu-ray release in the United States and Canada in 2014), An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, and Balto were presented in widescreen), the next would be The Land Before Time (which eventually got both new widescreen DVD and Blu-ray releases in the United States and Canada in 2015), and also Universal's second animated film from the 1990s to be presented in widescreen on a Region 1 DVD (the first being Jetsons: The Movie).


This soundtrack included the songs "Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time)" and "Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time) (Finale Version) by James Horner, Little Richard and Thomas Dolby.

Soundtrack album track listingEdit

  1. Main Title / Primeval Times – 4:14
  2. Flying Forward in Time – 5:48
  3. Welcome to New York – 2:26
  4. First Wish, First Flight – 3:48
  5. A Hint of Trouble / The 'Contract' – 1:49
  6. Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time): performed by John Goodman – 2:55
  7. Grand Slam Demons – 2:05
  8. Hot Pursuit – 3:18
  9. Central Park – 1:21
  10. Screweyes' Circus / Opening Act – 1:12
  11. Circus – 2:29
  12. Fright Radio / Rex's Sacrifice – 6:19
  13. Grand Demon Parade – 7:39
  14. The Kids Wake Up / A New Day – 2:57
  15. The Transformation – 5:30
  16. Special Visitors to the Museum of Natural History – 2:12
  17. Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time): performed by Little Richard – 2:56

Other mediaEdit

A novelization of the film entitled "We're Back! Dinosaur's Story: The Novelization" was later released.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Rex The Dinosaur balloon in Macy's Parade of 1993". YouTube. Retrieved 2015-07-26. 
  2. ^ "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story for Game Boy". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  3. ^ "We're Back! - Game Boy". VGFacts. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  4. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW : Spielberg's 'Dinosaur's Story': 'Jurassic Park' It's Not - Los Angeles Times". 1993-11-24. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  5. ^ {{cite web|url= |title=We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story |publisher=Rotten Tomatoes |accessdate=2012-01-28}}
  6. ^ "It's Tough to Stay Afloat in the Film-Cartoon Biz : Movies: Disney's hits prove that it can be done, but other firms lack marketing savvy and a competitive product, animators say. - Los Angeles Times". 1994-01-04. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  7. ^ "Were Back! A Dinosaurs Story DVD (Widescreen)". Universal Studios Store. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  8. ^ "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story Blu-ray". Retrieved 2015-08-25. 

External linksEdit