My Pet Dinosaur (2017)
Directed by: Matt Drummond
Written by: Matt Drummond
Starring: Annabel Wolfe, Beth Champion, Christopher Gabardi, Harrison Saunders, Jordan Dulieu, Rowland Holmes, Sam Winspear-Schillings, Scott Irwin, Tom Rooney
MY PET DINOSAUR (2017)
Written and Directed by Matt Drummond
A group of young school friends go off into the woods to look for UFO’s when the group’s only girl, Abbie, spots some weird blue goo. Deciding it could be worth analysing, Abbie scoops up a sample in a bag and takes it round to Jake’s house where the two observe it under a microscope. After a run in with his brother, Jake accidentally spills protein shake and a few other materials onto the goo on his desk but thinks nothing on it. It’s only until he’s awoken in the middle of the night by a tiny dinosaur creature rummaging around his room that he realises what’s happened. Keeping his newborn pet a secret, Jake attempts to conceal the animal but with its growing exponentially every day, sooner or later his little secret isn’t going to stay little for long.
MY PET DINOSAUR is a fun-filled, kids adventure movie with a young cast that remind me of those that starred in films gone by such as those in IT, the Goonies and E.T.. Their friendship, however, isn’t as focused upon as those particular films as the main story here is one boy and his newfound creation that he serves to love and protect. Having lost his father to an unspecified illness, Jake and his brother Michael have been going through some rough patches, especially now that their mother Jennifer is beginning to grow closer to local police officer Alan Farraday. Unable to get through to her kids that she’s in no way replacing their father but is looking to move on with her life, it being two years since he passed, Jennifer struggles with their misbehaviour, in particular Michael who loves to spray graffiti art around town. Jake, on the other hand, is more respectful of his mother with his only misbehaviour stemming from doctored school reports made by his buddies. However, the loss of his father clearly hit him hard and with his newfound pet, Magnus, he finds something he can pour his love into to nurture and protect.
Jake’s dinosaur isn’t the only outcome from the weird goo though. Townsfolk have been noticing strange creatures appearing, particularly two fishermen who catch something super weird in the lake, something which the local military seem keen on containing and keeping under wraps, even as far to threaten anyone who sticks their nose into their business. With this potential threat towards Magnus, Jake not only has to keep it a secret from those around him but also avoid the military from getting a whiff too.
MY PET DINOSAUR has a big heart and the bond that grows quickly between the lead Jake (Jordan Dulieu) and Magnus the dinosaur is pretty sweet to watch without being sickly. Magnus is created using CGI but is exceptionally well done and feels a lot more substantial than other CGI creatures I’ve seen with films of similar budgets. I always prefer practical FX in any movie but the characteristics of Magnus, particularly his never-ending growth spurts, means CGI isn’t just a more affordable solution but a more practical one too, and the effects department have done tremendously well with it.
The storyline of MY PET DINOSAUR is one we’ve seen many times before and, though there’s hardly anything new here, there’s still plenty to entertain. From getting into mischief with the streaming-crazy, tech savvy kids to the cuteness of the dinosaur and the attempts to conceal it, there never seems to be a dull moment. I feel as though the involvement of the other kids could have been utilised better than it has been as they play as supporting roles until the finale. There’s also hints at other creatures that aren’t fully explored which would have been another interesting route to go down. As it stands though, it still has just enough to keep the momentum of the film flowing.
With brilliant performances from the young cast and only one solitary swearword uttered, if memory serves correct (the word “pissed”), MY PET DINOSAUR offers fun for all the family.