Movie Review: My Pet Dinosaur - a kids' movie that goes back to the future
My Pet Dinosaur (PG, 97 mins) Directed by Matt Drummond ★★★½
Although shot in Australia's Blue Mountains, this family friendly creature feature is very much an American tale.
Brightwood is a town that is literally dying. Not only does a store close every week, but 126 of its citizens have been struck down with fatal illnesses over the past few years. One of those was the father of Jake (Jordan Dulieu) and Mike (Harrison Saunders) Emory. Since his passing two years ago, the pair's grades have been on a downward spiral and their anti-social behaviour on the rise.
However, Jake and his friends are also keen to solve the mystery of what the military is up to in the area, convinced that there's a link to the town's woes and the appearance of a strange glowing goo. But when Jake accidentally spills a protein shake over some of it, things get a whole lot more complicated for everyone.
Clearly inspired by '80s films like Gremlins, Stand By Me, Batteries Not Included and The Goonies, as well as recent films Super 8 and Pete's Dragon and Netflix's Stranger Things, writer-director Matt Drummond's (Dinosaur Island) even has the cheek to borrow camera shots and lines ("I'm keeping him") straight out of the genre's grand-daddy – E.T.
Despite this, predictable one-dimensional villains and a general Disney Channel feel to proceedings, My Pet Dinosaur is an amiable, action-filled adventure that will entertain audiences of all ages. The CGI is surprisingly impressive, while the eponymous character "Magnes" offers plenty of puppy-esque mischief and there's a positive underlying message about the power of science.