Barney's Great Adventure (also known by its promotional title Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie) is a 1998 American musical adventure film based on the children's television series Barney & Friends, featuring the character Barney the Dinosaur. The film was written by Stephen White, directed by Steve Gomer, produced by Sheryl Leach, Lyrick Studios and Walt Disney Pictures and released by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution on March 27, 1998 in the United States and Canada at the height of Barney's popularity.
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 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.
- David Joyner as Barney (costume)
- Bob West as Barney (voice)
- Trevor Morgan as Cody
- Diana Rice as Abby
- Kyla Pratt as Marcella
- Jeff Ayers as Baby Bop (costume)
- Julie Johnson as Baby Bop (voice)
- Jeff Brooks as B.J. (costume)
- Patty Wirtz as B.J. (voice)
- George Hearn as Grandpa
- Shirley Douglas as Grandma
- David and Edouard Larouche as Baby Fig
- Renee Madeline Le Guerrier as Mildred Goldfinch
- Roch Jutras as Mr. Millet
- Alan Fawcett as Dad
- Jane Wheeler as Mom
Musical numbers in the film
- "Barney – The Song" (main title) – Bernadette Peters
- "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" – Barney, Abby, Marcella
- "Imagine" – Barney, Abby, Cody, Marcella
- "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" – Grandpa
- "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" – Barney, Abby, Marcella
- "Old McDonald Had a Farm" – Barney, Abby, Marcella
- "If You're Happy and You Know It" – Barney
- "Who's Inside It?" – Barney, Abby, Cody, Marcella, Mrs. Goldfinch
- "Stars and Stripes Forever"
- "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker
- "If All the Raindrops" – Barney
- "We're Gonna Find a Way" – Barney, Abby, Cody, Marcella
- "I Love You" – Barney, B.J., Baby Bop, Abby, Cody, Marcella, Grandma, Grandpa
- "You Can Do Anything" – Stephen Bishop
- "Rainbows Follow the Rain" – Colin Boyd
- "Barney – The Song (Reprise)" – Bernadette Peters
The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews from film critics, owing to it being based on the aforementioned television program which is aimed for 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. John Petrakis wrote in the Chicago Tribune, "If my 21-month-old son had any inkling that I was giving a less than stellar review to [this film,] he would no doubt shoot me that look he tends to give when his milk is warm or his Cheerios a bit stale." The New York Times' Anita Gates wrote that it was a film "his young, undemanding fans are likely to enjoy.
Another review, from the Los Angeles Times, read: "The creators of the great purple scourge, Barney the Dinosaur, have an unspoken contract with parents palatable for all involved: We buy their videos and an occasional plush toy for our 3- and 4-year-olds and make Barney's brain trust obscenely wealthy; they in turn create benignly lobotomized entertainment that holds our non-demanding kids in thrall; our kids watch TV and allow us a few precious minutes of peace. The most important element is parental trust in Barney to be blandly wholesome, so that we have to endure only a few seconds of it while we cue up the VCR for our tykes. Family movies, on the other hand, imply a rather different contract: Parents buy tickets and popcorn for the whole family; filmmakers deliver light entertainment that kowtows to kids yet is not so brain-dead as to alienate sentient adults. 'Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie,' the first theatrical film featuring the green-bellied beast, takes that big old fat foot of Barney's and stomps that contract beyond recognition. [. . .] The flat lighting and two-dimensional sets of the TV screen serve Barney far better than a modestly expanded budget and a director insistent on using locations, romantic lighting and mildly adventurous camera angles. Barney looks both more real and more magical on video; on film, he's clearly a doofus in a felt outfit."
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a "Rotten" score of 26%, based on 23 reviews with only 6 fresh reviews, and a rating of a 4.2 out of 10.
It was nominated for two awards at the 19th Golden Raspberry Awards: Barney himself was nominated "Worst New Star" and won in a tie with Jerry Springer in Ringmaster. The Jerry Herman-penned "Barney, the Song" was nominated for "Worst Original Song", but lost to "I Wanna Be Mike Ovitz!" from An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn.
In its limited release weekend, the film grossed $2,203,865 and ranked #11. A week later, in wide release, it grossed $1,382,373 and ranked #15. By the end of its run, the film grossed $12,218,638 in the domestic box office, almost returning its $15 million budget.
The movie was released by Walt Disney Home Video on both VHS and DVD on September 1, 1998.