We’re Back!: A Dinosaur’s Story is a film many have probably seen or at least heard of in their lifetime. Personally, I had never seen it until today, but I remembered seeing the VHS boxes and previews for it everywhere and I had always been fascinated. Cartoon? Check. Dinosaurs? Check. Short run time? Check. Easy to follow and predictable plot? Check! Little Phil is all in! Yes, We’re Back! is a typical children’s movie that will be good for 3 – 8-year olds. And, yes it is seriously dated. But if you’re looking for something to throw on for your child while you work, it isn’t half-bad!
I almost feel like I don’t really need to summarize the movie, but basically Captain Neweyes (Walter Cronkite), a scientist from the future, travels back to the Cretaceous period. We find that he has invented ‘Brain Grain’, a cereal that grants the consumer intelligence, and has come to transform a few select dinosaurs. There’s Rex (John Goodman), Dweeb (Charles Fleischer), Roog (Rene LeVant), and Elsa (Felicity Kendal). He tells the newly intelligent dinosaurs that he did this to grant the wishes of scores of children who want to see real dinos. Afterwards, he drops them off in New York City in the year 1993 where they stumble upon a boy named Louie, who has run away from home to join the circus. They become friends, overcome the antagonist (Captain Neweyes brother, Professor Screweyes) through the power of love and friendship, and live happily ever after.
The film has a fairly simple message of ‘cherish your family’ as Louie, and later a girl named Cecilia, both have run away from home and, predictably, by the end have perfect lives and relationships with their parents. There really isn’t any fluff aside from a small music number led by Mr. Goodman himself, and even that leads straight in to the next plot point. We’re Back! has a 71 minute run time so they obviously just kept what was needed, and based on the animation style, they probably couldn’t afford to have an incredibly lengthy film. Pixar-quality this is not, and you can really tell how dated the film is as you watch it. It’s goofy and fun, especially a scene where police officers attempt to arrest the dinosaurs, and none of the humor is so out there a child would need it explained to them. I reaaaaally doubt a parent will enjoy watching it more than once a week though, so be warned if your child does happen to latch on. However there’s far worse out there that they could be watching. If you’re looking for a quick nap time movie for your child, or even just a quick nostalgia blast, I’d say check We’re Back! out. Other than that, I doubt anyone above 8-years old will watch it with so many newer and brighter things out.