THEODORE REX (1996)
Notes: NewLine Cinema. 92 minutes.
Katie Coltrane: Whoopi Goldberg
Voice of Teddy Rex: George Newburn
Voice of Molly Rex: Carol Kane
Elizar Kane: Armin Mueller-Stahl
Commissioner Lynch: Richard Roundtree
Also starring Juliet Landau, Bud Cort (of Haroldand Maude).
Executive Producer: Stefano Ferrari
Produced: Richard Abramson, Sue Baden-Powell
Written and Directed: Jonathan Betuel
Dinosaurs by Criswell Productions.
Summary: Billionaire DNA researcher Elizar Kane plans to destroy this futuristicworld and launch a New Eden missile which will serve as a Noah’sArk for the frozen creatures he has stored. Two of his workers,a “softskin” (human) and a dinosaur (Kane has broughtthem back) intend to blab and are killed.
Teddy Rex aspires to be a detective while KatieColtrane busts crooks “out in the [urban] jungle.”. The human corpse has no identification and the dinosaur corpseis mourned by Teddy: “It’s kind of like we feel for eachother.” Coltrane rescues a dog and is set up by a kid, Sebastian,with his father. Teddy goes to a high-class party to talk tothe Commissioner. He asks a waiter, “So what do we have,Frenchy? Meat, meat, meat and meat. You know I’m a recoveringcarnivore.” The politics of “interspecies relations”prompts the Commissioner to appoint Teddy a detective to investigatethe “dinocide,” and to team him with Coltrane.
After some driving slapstick, the two visitthe Natural History Museum where Teddy waxes sentimental abouthis ancestors: “If dinosaurs weren’t extinct, we’d be runningthe world.” Autopsy details lead to Molly Rex at a nightclubwhere they serve hydroponic seaweed. Coltrane remarks, “Ithought you people eat meat.” Teddy’s “kind of on thewagon,” and complains that the only time softskins pay attentionto animals is to “shoot them, eat them, or wear them.” Molly sings “I’m No Angel” and the two inquire aboutthe late Oliver. Teddy is smitten (“glando”).
Another autopsist says “we’re all slavesto our DNA” and connects the human clone corpse with Kane. Coltrane and Teddy stop to see Sebastian and his hockey teamand Teddy wins praise. The two go to Kane’s lab, “whereI was cloned” Teddy waxes nostalgic. Kane shows them icefishwhich can be thawed back alive but claims to know noting aboutthe murders. Meanwhile Sebastian is kidnapped and Oliver’s funeralshows his recycling into liquification to fertilize flowers whichthe mourners take home–he’s recycled. Kane promises a betterworld.
Teddy escorts Molly to his apartment wherethey dance. He and Coltrane must go question “The Toymaker”who crafted a deadly butterfly which was the instrument of death. He confesses about Kane when Teddy threatens to eat him. Mollyis kidnapped too now.
Various henchment are shot and Kane revealsto Teddy his “survival of the fittest” scheme to bethe new god and create an ice age. Molly and Teddy are to bea pair on the Ark. Katie is shot into a paralysis and refusesto give Teddy a gun: “use your brain.” He stops theevil plot and is afterwards honored by being made Detective FirstClass by the Commissioner, who delivers a speech involving “interspecies”sanctimony.
Commentary: There have been more obnoxious dinosaur movies for kids thanthis one, but sitting through this film was alleviated only byBud Cort and the occasional albeit waffling meat commentary.
Noah’s Ark is a frighteningly ubiquitous themein the mid- and late-’90s, appearing on all manner of merchandise,and this movie uses the idea as a way of combining futurism, cataclysm,and dinosaurs (with the damned Jurassic DNA crap thrownin obligatorily). One can detect this post-apocalyptic/saurianpattern in many 1950s and 1980s incarnations.