In the world of animation, there are few universal truths. But one, at least, is that everyone loves dinosaurs. Whether you think they're fascinating or just plain awesome, few stories were made worse by the presence of our prehistoric friends. And since today is dino-day across the io9 sub-sites, let's celebrate by looking at some of the best animated dinosaurs.
10. Dino — The Flintstones
As TV's first popular cartoon dinosaur, Dino is the best friend a caveman could have. He's loyal, affectionate, protective, and loveable — all necessary qualities for a pet
dog dinosaur. Fred doesn't always like to keep him in the house (as you can see from the opening credits), but the rest of the family never tires of him. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm especially love the purple snorkasaurus, and Dino is at his best when he's looking after the two tots.
9. Aladar — Dinosuar
Remember Disney's Dinosaur? No? C'mon, it was a big deal when it came out. It was Disney's first all-CGI movie, and the visuals were absolutely stunning for the year 2000. It followed the journey of Aladar the Iguanodon and other displaced dinosaurs as they searched for refuge from the effects of a deadly meteor strike. The movie ends on a happy note (even if we know all those dinos are doomed) with Aladar finding a place to settle down and make (doomed) babies with his (doomed) Iguanodon honey. It should be noted, though, that Aladar doesn't make this list for the merit of his character. He's just this list's resident trophy-dinosaur — just here because he (and the movie he's from) is pretty to look at.
8. Tiny — Meet the Robinsons
Tiny is probably one of the most dapper dinosaurs on this list despite the fact that his stylish bowler hat is only there to keep him under the Bowler Hat Guy's control. We can say, however, that he possess more common sense than most dinosaurs plucked from the Jurassic (and even some people from the future). His acknowledgment that his big head and little arms make it hard to capture Lewis as he hides in the corner of a building is also one of the cutest things a dinosaur has ever done. But to be fair to the badassitude that is his birthright, he does wreck the Robinson family as they try to stop him, fighting off their giant squid butler and plucking a flying saucer right out of the damn sky.
7. Rex — Toy Story
If you're in need of a self-conscious, toy T-Rex, Rex is your guy. Ok, fine, no one is really looking for a toy like that, but Rex has plenty of good qualities. He's kick-ass when it comes to video games and his acting skills are pretty top notch (with the right direction from his kid). And despite how hysterical he gets about basically everything, he's a loyal toy that always looks out for his friends and is always down to play. Plus the way he kind of waddles back and forth is pretty great.
6. Agumon — Digimon
I know what you're thinking: digimon aren't dinosaurs. Well, he makes the list on a technicality — he's a digital dinosaur. Semantics aside, Agumon is basically the best digi-partner a digi-destined could digi-have. He's super strong, caring, and makes a decent baby sitter in the movie. His whole digivolution line is one of the coolest in the series despite the fact that he looks less and less like a dinosaur with each form. Plus he is one of the rare digimon with the ability to digivolve to the mega level, and he can even fuse with Gabumon's mega level to create the crazy powerful Omnimon. And while you can't ignore his fellow dinosaur digimon like Veemon and Guilmon, Agumon is still the original and the best.
5. Dinobots — Transformers
Robots can be dinosaurs too, everyone (don't be racist). Anyway, Grimlock and his close-knit band of dinobots don't take orders from anyone because they're that awesome. To them, Optimus Prime is just some chump that begs for their help when he can't get the job done. And who cares if most of the other Transformers think they're a bunch of brutes who DGAF about basically everything? They're motha' fuckin' dinobots, son. They can do whatever they want because they kick ass.
4. Reptar — Rugrats
Though he started off as a humble Tyrannosaurus Rex, he was brought to the future and irradiated into the destructive force we know and love. Basically the best toy a baby could have, Reptar is everywhere in the Rugrats universe. There are multi-colored toys of him, movies, ice-shows, cereals — everything. And to be fair, he was basically many kids' gateway to Godzilla. So for doing the good work of our great lizard lord while being awesome in his own right, Reptar has earned his place in the upper echelon of dinosaur characters.
3. All the dinos in Jurassic Park
These movies were both a dinosaur fan's dream come true and their nightmare. Based on the Michael Crichton novel, these films warn of the price that comes with resurrecting dinosaurs. Or, if you're like most people, it's a life-and-death thrill ride through the most amazing place you wish was real. It's also notable for giving dinosaurs that aren't T. Rex a chance to shine, making us rightfully terrified of velociraptors.
2. Everyone from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story
If anyone tries to say We're Back! wasn't the best dinosaur musical ever, I'll force feed you the movie's Brain Gain cereal until you're smart enough to see the truth. No one can argue that the movie's premise isn't ridiculous (scientist brings dinosaurs to present day New York because kids from his dream-bubble radio want to see them, gives them conscious thought so they don't eat the kids, and then shenanigans ensue when two kids run away to join the circus), but it's also wonderful. Rex, Woog, Elsa, and Dweeb are the most chill dinosaurs you'll ever find, and I'd roll back the rock to the dawn of time with them any day.
1. Everyone from The Land Before Time
With a total of 13 movies, only the first one was really something special — but with Don Bluth, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg involved, how could it not be? Kids loved it because dinosaurs and adults loved it because the film was packed full of adult themes like the tragic nature of death and disaster. Littlefoot, Sarah, and the rest of the gang also made a diverse group of characters with their own personalities and problems. Plus, it was the only movie that made me want to eat plans. Seriously, those tree-stars looked pretty tasty as a kid.