The Tarbosaurus King is an animated, musical/drama feature film produced by 20th Century Fox. Containing elements of Hamlet and Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the story centers a Tarbosaurus prince named Samson, who must overcome the loss of his father and his villainous uncle, Sarpedon, in order to take his rightful place as the king of the Mesozoic Lands.
The story of The Tarbosaurus King takes place in a Prehistoric kingdom called the Mesozoic Lands, where a Tarbosaurus rules over the other dinosaurs as king.
At the beginning of the film, Ricky, a pterodactylus shaman, anoints Samson, the newborn baby of King Manfred and Queen Sakari, and presents him to a gathering of dinosaurs at Mesozoic Rock. Meanwhile, Manfred's younger brother, Sarpedon, who decided not to be at the ceremony, is annoyed that he is no longer the heir to the throne. Manfred confronts Sarpedon about not attending the ceremony and tells him to not turn his back on him, when he tries to leave. When Sarpedon telks Manfred that he should not turn his back on him and Manfred tells him if it's a challenge, Sarpedon replies that he would not dream of it as he lacks brute strength. After Sarpedon leaves, Manfred wonders what to do with him.
Months later, Manfred takes Samson around the Mesozoic Lands, teaching him about the "Circle of Life", the delicate balance affecting all living things. He also teaches him where everything the light touches is our kingdom. Later, Sarpedon tells Samson about the brachiosaurus graveyard, a place where Manfred has warned him not to go. Samson asks his mother if he can go to the water-hole with his best friend, Natalie. Sakari and Natalie's mother Stella agree, but only if Manfred's majordomo, the archaeopteryx Zander, goes with them. Samson and Natalie elude Zander's supervision and go to the graveyard instead. There, the youngsters are chased by three velociraptors named Shura, Kurt, and Axel, who had secretly been ordered by Sarpedon to kill the youngsters, but Samson and Natalie are rescued by Manfred, who was summoned by Zander. After sending Natalie and Zander ahead back to Mesozoic Rock, Manfred scolds Samson for putting himself and Natalie in danger, before teaching him about the Great Kings of the Past, who look down on the living from the stars.
Later that night, Sarpedon gains the loyalty of the velociraptors by claiming that if he becomes king, they will "never go hungry again" if they help him kill Manfred and Samson. Plotting further, Sarpedon gathers more velociraptors forming an army. Sometime later, Sarpedon lures Samson into a gorge for a "surprise from his father" then signals the velociraptors create a Pachycephalosaurus stampede down into the gorge where Samson is. Alerted by an insincerely dramatic Sarpedon, Manfred races to rescue Samson from the stampede. He saves his son, but is left clinging to the edge of a cliff, which results in Sarpedon flinging him into the stampede below to his death. Sarpedon convinces Samson that he was responsible for his own father's death, and recommends that he flees the Mesozoic Lands, never to return. To compound this, Sarpedon once again sends the velociraptors to kill Samson, but as Samson reaches a thorny embankment, they let him escape, hurling threats that he will be killed if ever seen again. That night back at Mesozoic Rock, Sarpedon informs Sakari, Natalie and the rest of the Mesozoic that both Manfred and Samson were killed in the stampede, and that he is assuming the throne as the closest of king. After becoming king, Sarpedon fulfills his promise to the velociraptors and allows them to come into the Mesozoic Lands.
Samson collapses in a distant desert where he is found unconscious by Toby and Denko, an obamadon-dimetrodon duo who raise Samson under their carefree "Hakuna Matata" lifestyle. When Samson has grown into a young adult he saves them from a hungry Tarbosaurus who is revealed to be Natalie. Samson shows Natalie around his home and the two begin to fall in love. Natalie then tells him that Sarpedon's tyrannical reign has turned the Mesozoic Lands into a barren wasteland; she demands that Samson must return and take his rightful place as king, but Samson refuses, still guilty about supposedly causing his father's death. Ricky arrives and persuades Samson to return to the Mesozoic Lands, aided by Manfred's presence in the stars. After some advice from Ricky and the spirit of his father, Samson, followed by Natalie, Toby, and Denko, returns home.
Once back at Mesozoic Rock, Samson (with Toby, Denko, and Natalie) is horrified to see the condition of the Mesozoic Lands. What was once a lush paradise was now a dead wasteland. With the Tarbosaurs overhunting, their prey eventually left the Mesozoic Lands, causing famine in the Mesozoic. After seeing Sarpedon strike his mother, Samson announces his return. In response, Samson confronts Sarpedon, who forces Samson to confess to being responsible for Manfred's death. Sarpedon then forces Samson over the edge of Mesozoic Rock, just as a lightning bolt starts a fire below. As Samson dangles over the edge of Mesozoic Rock, Sarpedon whispers to Samson that he killed Manfred. Enraged, Samson leaps up and pins Sarpedon to the ground, forcing him to admit the truth to the Mesozoic. A raging battle then ensues between the velociraptors and the Tarbosaurs, Toby, and Denko which results in Samson cornering Sarpedon. In the midst of their fight, Sarpedon tries to surreptitiously blame everything on the velociraptors, but the velociraptors overhear his conversation with Samson. Samson orders Sarpedon to flee the Mesozoic Lands. Sarpedon pretends to leave but turns to attack Samson, resulting in a final duel. Samson eventually triumphs over his uncle by flipping him and kicks him over a low cliff. Sarpedon survives the fall, but finds himself surrounded by the now resentful velociraptors. The velociraptors surround their traitorous fallen leader. Sarpedon frantically tries to absolve himself, but the velociraptors have had enough of his lies, derogatory treatment, and broken promises so they ignore his life plea, attack him, and maul him to death, as flames rise around them.
With Sarpedon and the velociraptors gone, and with the rightful king in place, the Mesozoic Lands are restored which is turning green with life again. The film concludes with Ricky presenting Samson and Natalie's newborn baby into the air, thus continuing the Circle of Life.
- Dave Foley as Samson
- Alexander Gould as young Samson
- Sean Young as Natalie
- Dakota Fanning as young Natalie
- Steven Blum as Sarpedon
- Thurl Ravenscroft as Manfred
- Carlos Alazraqui as Toby
- Keith Silverstein as Denko
- Ian Holm as Ricky
- Christian Bale as Zander
- Della Reese as Shura
- Jesse Corti as Kurt
- Jeff Bennett as Axel
- Veronica Taylor as Sakari
- Sally Field as Stella
- Clancy Brown as Castorocauda