In early 1990s, it became apparent that people were, like, so yesterday. Animals? Like, hello! 1985 is calling and they want their present-day snoozefest back! You know what’s cool? What’s hip? Things that had died 65 million years ago.
I’m sure you remember this cultural trend. Dinos were pretty much everywhere. Films, comics, cartoons, video games – if you were a kid then you probably owned at least three dinosaur-related things and loved them.
Of course, some of it was good, and some of it was bad. So – let your old pal Rob take you on a whirlwind tour of the best (and worst) dinosaur offerings.
Let’s start with the big hitters: In 1988, we had The Land Before Time, an animated movie from the mighty Don Bluth, and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. The movie was fantastic, heartwarming, and more than a little sad. A great Don Bluth animated adventure. It was, unfortunately, followed by about ten thousand sequels.
TLBT can be seen as the granddaddy of the whole movement. It predates most of the major players and was a huge, huge success. However, the biggest Dinosaur-themed event was obviously this:
Jurassic Park was awesome. It’s still one of my favourite films. It’s still one of the best blockbuster movies ever. It had everything a kid needed: adventure, wonder, graphic violence, harm being done to annoying kids, brilliant hats, helicopters…not going to lie, I am still excited about the possibility of Jurassic Park 4.
Between the two, there were several other dinosaur adventures of…mixed results.
“You know what would be funny? A sitcom about Dinosaurs! They can be played by New Yorkers in giant suits! And they can be really creepy!”
“Yeah that’s totally a good idea…wait, how shall we end the show? Oh I know, with the FRICKIN’ DINOPOCALYPSE! That totally won’t scar people for life!”
Barney The Dinosaur!
I never really ‘got’ Barney to be perfectly honest. He had the cold, dead eyes of a killer. I felt as though his show was a little like Hotel California.
For me, the best thing Barney did was help to inspire Death To Smoochy (one of the most underrated movies ever made, do check it out).
Denver, The Last Dinosaur!
Here’s one you may not know, or may have a vague, subconscious memory of. Let the title sequence refresh your memory. Warning: contains a GUITAR PLAYING DINOSAUR and many awesome 90s pop-culture references.
So. Much. Awesome. Seriously, just look at this:
The only way this could be improved is if Batman was somehow involved. I know the show was made to try and sell the toys, but quite frankly, I don’t care. It didn’t do Transformers any harm.
Speaking of cartoons to sell toy lines, here is Extreme Dinosaurs, one of the many ‘we want to be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ series about. There will be more on that phenomenon in a later post. But for now, enjoy some brilliant wisdom from these anthropomorphised cool 90s Dinodudes:
(FYI, I think that using the phrase ‘Cretaceous!’ to mean ‘awesome’ is brilliant)
Cyberpunk and dinosaurs team up to bring this crapheap of a film. That same duo was tried with the Super Mario Bros movie in 1993, to similar results.
Dinosaurs For Hire!
Originally a comic series, Dinosaurs For Hire came to my attention as a Sega Megadrive game. It involved Dinosaurs in sunglasses shooting people with shotguns. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of thing dreams are made of. If you don’t agree, I think there might be something wrong with you.
As part of the super-violent videogame trend that was personified by the likes of Mortal Kombat and Lethal Enforcers, along came this beat ‘em up where you could pit dinosaurs against giant apes and the like. It was…passable in my opinion. I never saw it in an arcade up apparently the arcade version was a lot better than the one that hit the home consoles.
To finish, I’ll leave you with this, the best thing to come out of the dinosaur craze: the music from the first stage of Jurassic Park on the NES. It’s actually the BEST SONG EVER.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what your favourite dinosaur-related things were from the 90s! Up next: something videogame-related.