Barney's Great Adventure
Barney's Great Adventure is a 1998 kids adventure film based on the TV show, Barney and Friends. The film was directed by Steve Gomer and was released by Polygram and Lyrick Studios on March 27, 1998.
Cody (Trevor Morgan), his sister Abby (Diana Rice), their best friend Marcella (Kyla Pratt) and their baby brother Fig are dropped off by their parents for a visit at their grandparents' farm. As Cody is believing that there may be nothing to do at the farm, Abby and Marcella rub a Barney doll in his face. Cody loses his patience and starts a game of "keep-away" by taking the Barney doll and running off with it. The two girls go after Cody, who hides the Barney doll in the shower in the bathroom.
The girls catch up with Cody, who tells them to use their imagination and laughs when he thinks that nothing happened. However, the doll comes to life as Barney the Dinosaur takes the girls to play in the barn. Cody refuses to believe in Barney at first, claiming that imagination is just for kids and that real dinosaurs neither talk, nor laugh. That night, Cody takes advice from Barney and wishes for a real adventure for that summer, and to do something no one has ever done before.
A shooting star deposits a large colorful egg in the barn which Cody discovers in the morning. Barney and the kids go to tell the grandparents about this, but Barney is distracted by Fig's crying. Grandma suggests to Abby and Marcella that they go see Mrs. Goldfinch. Cody finds Barney who has just changed Fig's wet diaper and takes him to see his grandparents. However, Abby and Marcella take Cody and Barney to see Mrs. Goldfinch, who tells them that the egg is a dream maker. Cody accidentally knocks the egg off the table which lands on a birdseed truck.
Barney and the others try to recover it through a parade as the egg narrowly avoids being stomped or cracked by the parade's participants as the egg's five colors begin to reveal itself, one color at a time. Barney's friend B.J. catches it when it almost lands on the ground, but accidentally tosses it away. Barney and the gang chase the egg throughout a French restaurant, a circus, and fly through the sky on an airplane to continue their pursuit of the egg which is in a hot air balloon. All the while, Baby Bop is looking for her small, yellow blanket, and B.J. and Baby Bop arrive just in time to see the egg hatch. After they return the egg to the barn, it finally hatches into a koala-like being named Twinken by Baby Bop who shows everyone Abby's dream and then Barney's.
Cody apologizes to Barney for being mean and admits that he thinks he's cool. Barney accepts his apology and tells Cody that he thinks he's cool too and the two share a hug. Twinken shows everyone a magical fireworks display which lands in Barney's arms. Barney begins to sing "I Love You", and everyone else sings with him. Baby Bop gets sleepy, which prompts B.J. to decide that they are ready to go home. The film ends with Twinken sitting right next to Barney, who has reverted to his doll form.
Why It Sucks
- Extremely weak, lazy, and poorly written plot that's been used in numerous of better films with lots of filler moments, as mentioned below.
- Tiresome supporting characters, even with characters such as Abby and even Barney himself.
- The movie itself only involves Barney and the children try to find an egg and need to get it back before it hatches, yet most of the movie boils down to 76 minutes of pure filler, with practically nothing going on during the movie. The plot itself also suffers from being fairly boring thanks to the fact that there is only weak humor compared to any real character development or interesting concepts.
- Bad acting, even from actors such as Trevor Morgan and Jeff Brooks, which make them look like they've been picked off the street.
- No real or clear villain, despite the film being meant for kids.
- The costume designs are so bad that there is even a circus scene where you can see a bit of Baby Bop's skin fall off in her pink tutu (which for some reason they kept it in).
- Horrible CGI animation and visual effects for the wooden airplane scene.
- Unfunny and weak humor, especially when the girls try to imagine Barney when Cody hides the Barney Doll.
- Awful voice acting, especially from Barney the Dinosaur himself.
- Twinken isn't even that cute and cuddly at all. They could have designed him better. He looks like an old, fuzzy white koala with sad, droopy eyes. That's it, nothing else at all.
- Some plot lines can be seen as kind of rushed, as the whole plot is all about an egg that hatches a creature which only visualizes your dreams, that's all it does, and now the whole movie and egg search become pointless, as you can visualize your dreams easily in your imagination, so there's no need for some strange creature to do it for you.
- Pointless moments, such as Baby Bop looking for her blanket.
- Dreadful and annoying soundtrack, particularly with the Barney theme.
- The musical numbers are also poorly made and laughable, such as Imagine.
- Misleading title: Despite being called Barney's Great Adventure, the first half of the film mostly focuses on the kids rather than Barney and his pals.
- On the topic of the title, it sounds questionable.
- Cody, Fig, and the adults are the only likable characters.
- The ending is rather heartwarming.
- There is a somewhat chuckle-worthy moment where Marcella suggests the rainbow egg came from a giant chicken and everyone (even Barney), stares at her in a confused manner.
- Barney and Cody actually have a meaningful conversation at one point, which shows some chemistry.
- Despite what WIS #11 says, the only thing Twinken does (visualize your dreams) is pretty creative and cute.
- The CGI animation and visual effects for Twinken are pretty good, especially for 1998 standards.
Barney's Great Adventure received mixed-to-overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics, audiences and a large amount of anti-Barney fans, owing to it being based on the aforementioned television program which is aimed at young children aged 1–8, the growing popularity of "anti-Barney humor", and the general unpopularity of the Barney series outside of its target audience of preschoolers. The film currently holds a 32% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 4.2 out of 10 and a critic consensus that states: "Barney's friends are big and small / They come from lots of places / But after this film, their parents / Will be left with pained faces." On IMDb, the film holds a 3.1/10 and was at one point on IMDb's Bottom 100 list. But, as of right now, it isn't on the list anymore. Film critic David Kronke of the Los Angeles Times stated: "Barney looks both more real and more magical on video; on film, he's clearly a doofus in a felt outfit." However, Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and stated in his review, "If you like him on TV, you'll like him here, too." Gene Siskel of The Chicago Tribune stated, "Barney doesn't have much of a personality in this story; his character should have been developed in order to hold the big screen for more than a 30-minute program."
Metacritic somewhat scores the film a 44/100 indicating "mixed or average reviews."
The film opened up at #11 on its limited weekend with a gross of only $2,203,865. On its wide weekend, it went to #15 and grossed $1,382,373. The film tanked after getting a domestic gross of only $12,218,638 against its $15 million budget.
Awards and nominations
Barney's Great Adventure was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst New Star, but lost to Jerry Springer for Ringmaster along with Joe Eszterhas as himself in An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn. The film was also nominated for three Stinkers Bad Movie Awards including Worst Actor for Barney the Dinosaur.
- Trey Parker was offered the chance to direct the film and was, according to Parker, offered $1.5 million for the job, but declined - he would create South Park (1997) instead with fellow colleague Matt Stone.
- This was supposed to be a direct-to-video production, but Lyrick Studios (the company behind Barney) wanted it to be a theatrical movie because of Barney's popularity, which actually angered Polygram. This feud actually continued after Polygram was bought by Universal and after Lyrick Studios was bought by Hit Entertainment. Hit was forced to keep Lyrick's Austin Studio open due to this. After the feud ended, Lyrick's Austin Studio was shut down.
- Stephen White, who was the head writer at the time for Barney & Friends from 1992 to 2005 disowned the film.
- The movie was banned in Malaysia since it was deemed "unsuitable for children". No elaborate reasons were ever given.
- It is possible because of Barney in the shower, Barney changing Fig’s diaper and Cody's bad behavior towards Barney.
- An early draft of this movie existed and it was possibly slightly better.
- According to writer Stephen White, in the original script, the egg was going to hatch a giant bird who misses its mother, Baby Bop and BJ were expected to make a lot more screen time, appearing in the farmhouse attic, but those scenes were soon scrapped, as director Steve Gomer claimed the scenes to be "unaffordable". Miss. Goldfinch was originally planned to be a comedic character, as opposed to the more subdued character of the final film, the circus scenes and the "Collector" character were not in the original drafts, as well as rather than using a log, Barney and the gang would have built a plane out of cardboard boxes.