I love Jurassic Park. It is my favorite movie of all time, and it’s popularity spawned a lot of dinosaur hysteria in the 90s. I’ve wanted to express my love of 90s dinosaur nostalgia for a long time now. At first I was going to list the best dinosaur movies from the 90s, but quickly realized it would only be two movies long, maybe three. Instead, I’m taking all of the other films that couldn’t make that list, and giving you the 10 Worst Dinosaur Movies of the 90s.
I should note that just because this is a “Worst of” list, a lot of these are pretty enjoyable, even if it’s just for the entertainment value of how bad they are.
10. We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story
We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story was a staple for me in the 90s. I don’t remember if I saw it in the theater or not, but I watched it on VHS constantly. It was produced by Steven Spielberg and released the same year as Jurassic Park. I put We’re Back! at 10th place to stress that it isn’t the most horrible dinosaur movie of the 90s, but watching it now is a little harder than it used to be.
The movie is about a bunch of dinosaurs that get taken from the past to present day (1993) New York City. To make a long story short, the good guy and bad guy are brothers. One wants to make the dinosaurs smarter and fulfill the wishes of children, and the other wants to make them beasts (again), and scare the crap out of kids. The good guy’s name is Captain Neweyes, which mean the bad guy’s name has to be Professor Screweyes. Awesome. I’ll save the rest for a full review because We’re Back! is finally out on DVD. For all its flaws, it has some cool design and features the voices of John Goodman, Jay Leno, Julia Child, and Walter Cronkite.
Remember the flood of direct to video movies in the 90s? You know, the ones you always saw at the video store that confused you because you couldn’t remember ever hearing about them before? Ok, now do you remember the kid from Last Action Hero?
Add in tiny dinosaurs and that, in a nutshell, is the Prehysteria! trilogy. Its pretty bad when an eight year old kid can lose interest in a movie that has dinosaurs in it, but I remember Prehysteria! being very boring. It was probably because the dinosaurs were tiny, instead of being big and scary like they’re supposed to be.
8. Land Before Time VI – The Secret of Saurus Rock
I’m cheating on this a little bit because I haven’t actually seen this one, but I wanted to make a point. LET THIS SERIES DIE. From 1988-2009, there will have been 14 Land Before Time movies. Yikes.
The first one was cool, but I imagine by now they’re just using the same footage and re-dubbing the dialog to fool children. Imagine if Rock-a-Doodle had 13 sequels; there would be riots in the streets.
Oh boy was I excited for this movie. I grew up loving the old monster movies, and once even successfully convinced my parents to subscribe to the Disney Channel just so I could watch a Godzilla marathon. Being the clever little boy I was, I always said that someday someone was going to remake Godzilla, but put him in modern-day New York City. Much to my delight, Roland Emmerich did just that in 1998.
I failed to predict, however, that it would star Matthew Broderick, have Godzilla looking like a large iguana, and have a plot crazy enough that I could have written it. To be honest, I loved this movie, and it is still a very guilty pleasure of mine, but it just wasn’t the Godzilla everyone was expecting.
A depressing side note is that when this movie came out, for some reason the friends that were supposed to see this with me couldn’t make it. I had already been dropped off, so I sat in a crowded theater on a Friday night by myself. End depressing side note.
6. Super Mario Brothers
Lets face it, the Super Mario Brothers movie deserves to be on any “Worst Movies” list ever made, so it’s my pleasure to squeeze it in to this one. In 1993 kids all over the world sat with their jaws dropped at how un-Mario-like and insane this movie was.
Dennis Hopper as Koopa? Yoshi is just a pet dinosaur? Did anyone involved in this movie play the video game before signing on to this? The Wizard is a better Mario movie than this, and it’s about some kids on a road trip. I could rant and rave about how horrible this movie is for days, but it’s been done before.
Seriously though, I think a live action Sonic the Hedgehog movie would be better than this, somehow.
5. Barney’s Great Adventure
Just like you can’t have a worst movie list without the Super Mario Brothers movie, you can’t not make fun of Barney in a 90s related article. I think making fun of Barney is almost more nostalgic than Barney himself. In the 90s, it seemed like everywhere you turned, there was a TV show or magazine making fun of the big purple guy. What did he do to deserve it, hang out with a bunch of kids, sing affectionate songs, and jump around a lot? Ok, I get it. Barney was the Michael Jackson of kids’ TV in the 90s.
It’s funny, because I remember watching Barney until I became aware that it probably wasn’t OK for me to be watching Barney anymore. I don’t, however, remember seeing this movie, so I’m just going to assume it was horrible.
Carnosaur, a dinosaur horror movie that rushed to beat Jurassic Park to theaters and then quickly made it’s way to late night TV, scaring the crap out of kids like me. End of story.
3. Adventures in Dinosaur City
If you missed this one, Adventures in Dinosaur City is about three kids who get sucked in to the universe of their favorite TV show. Thanks to a Dad who is also some kind of crazy scientist, they get sucked into Dinosaur World, where dinosaurs wear clothes and have attitudes, and live side-by-side with cavemen. This universe is sadly not as cool as the Jim Henson show Dinosaurs you may remember from the 90s. See for yourself.
Had enough dinosaurs yet? Almost done.
2. Tammy and the T-Rex
This movie is so bad it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. It’s about a guy who was murdered, but his brain is transplanted into an animatronic dinosaur, and a bad one at that. He seeks revenge, his girlfriend gets involved, and – are you kidding me, people got paid for this? My cat probably dreams cooler stories about dinosaurs than this movie.
1. Theodore Rex
Ding ding ding, we have a winner!
Not only did Hollywood love making dinosaur movies in the 90s, they also loved cheesy dysutopian/gritty futuristic movies. I’m talking the Judge Dredds, Demolition Mans, and shudder, Super Mario Brothers of the world. You know, bad Blade Runner rip-offs.
Someone in Hollywood must have gotten a huge raise when Theodore Rex was approved, because it combined all of the above, plus Whoopi Goldberg. In reality, the studio realized it was too horrible to release in theaters, and instead went straight to the video store shelves and into the hands of kids like me, who quickly returned it, grew up, and blogged about it.
Whoopi even tried backing out, but settled for a seven million dollar salary. Poor Whoopi. Note to self, if ever given the opportunity to talk to Whoopi Goldberg, ask about Theodore Rex.
Feeling crazy? Want to watch the worst dinosaur movie of the 90s? Check it out at Amazon and a super tiny portion of the price will go back to SMC so I can waste your time with more articles like this.
So there you have it, way too many movies about dinosaurs. I think I’m going to go watch Jurassic Park now.