My Pet Dinosaur Now on VOD, A Movie Review

11 Oct

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The Australian film My Pet Dinosaur is finally getting American side distribution. It’s now on VOD platforms like iTunes and Google Play. For those who remember either the plush toy made by American Greetings or the animated series made by Nelvana, some people, like myself, may wonder if filmmaker Matt Drummond drew from this product as inspiration.

Although the pup dino looks very blue, this connection is hardly enough to say he did. When Jake Emory (Jordan Dulieu) creates a dinosaur out of mixing up random chemicals with contaminated water, the critter that emerges is cute as buttons. Eventually, an attachment forms. This lad and his brother Mike (Harrison Saunders), lost their father, and are taking it out on mom. This particular subplot does not feel as developed. Enough can be understood to realize they are not over the loss of their father, and they feel the need to act out.

As for the dinosaur itself, just what species it is was tough to guess until it finally grew up. Whether it is supposed to be a triceratops, the toddler stage certainly did not suggest it, and it morphed whenever it consumed enough food. This film is not meant to be scientifically accurate as it is more of a fantasy product. Although, when considering the mad science the military was trying to do, many viewers would think they would have some kind of handle. True to form, they are inept and are the bad guys.

The main plot deals more with how Jake and his friends value life and are willing to not leave anyone behind. Even for these Frankenstein type creations, they are sentient beings instead of fodder, which was want the military heads wanted. The chaos which occurs between the two sides reminds me of E.T. the Extraterrestrial. This film is comparable to those early films of Steven Spielberg, and The Goonies type feel also permeates.

Even the effects are quite decent. The dinosaur is computer animated does not suffer from the cardboard glued on effect budget films often have when trying to blend live action with digital. Puppets were no doubt used in a few scenes, and as for keeping kids happy, the frights are kept tame. With this work, Drummond has made a film more about forging tight family bonds than with dealing with these creatures as solid threats. At least for this work, it’s a thankful entry to those starting to tire of those terrors coming out of Jurassic Park.

3½ Stars out of 5

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