With Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ready to trample theaters next month, dino-mania has taken over the planet as if that killer asteroid never crashed to Earth. But what if those monster lizards that have no problem ripping people’s heads off could actually talk?
As you can see in this video, dinosaurs have been vocal since before the era of CGI (which is sort of prehistoric if you think about it). 1980s and ‘90s fossils like Theodore Rex, Earl Sinclair, and the anthropomorphic reptiles of Adventures in Dinosaur City were larger-than-life animatronic costumes that often required more than one human behind the scenes to make them look alive. While digital effects were still in their embryonic stage, someone was working toothy jaws and eyeball controls, or keeping a 5-foot tail from smashing everything in sight.
Animated dinos have seen their own evolution. You can’t talk about dinosaurs that speak our language without mentioning Littlefoot of Don Bluth’s The Land Before Time, who almost didn’t mutter a word in the movie until the producers decided that both the narrator and the dinosaurs should have their say. Fast-forward over a decade, and Aladar of Disney’s Dinosaur almost ran into the same problem before he faced off against a Carnotaur.
If you wonder what creatures that last appeared 65 million years ago could possibly have to say, you obviously haven’t listened. The issues many of them unearth are hardly the stuff of paleontology. Survivors like Littlefoot and Arlo of The Good Dinosaur show enormous strength through adversity. The Land Before Time itself is a social commentary on prejudice. The scaly Al Bundy otherwise known as Earl Sinclair of the edgy TGIF sitcom Dinosaurs is basically an example of every wasteful and self-indulgent thing our own species shouldn’t do if we want to avoid going extinct.
From the funny to the fierce to the unapologetically weird, these talking dinosaurs will always be part of science fiction’s DNA.