Parents everywhere are constantly plagued by their children’s request for a pet, usually in the form of a dog or cat. Once in a while they’ll get a request for a spider or hamster, but either way, it’s still quite manageable. Now, imagine if your child came to you asking for a pet dinosaur. While you may laugh at your child’s fun fantasy wish, just imagine what it would be like to actually have that pet dinosaur and the inevitable havoc that would ensue. This is what Matt Drummond’s My Pet Dinosaur explores.
Feeling like an low-budget Pete’s Dragon, My Pet Dinosaur is a simple yet rather enjoyable film about a military experiment gone wrong. This leads to a young kid named Jake (Jordan Dulieu) and his friend Abbey (Annabel Wolfe) to discover an accidentally created tiny dinosaur. Adorably named, Magnus, the two become fast friends and of course, Jake keeps him a secret. However, things become more complicated when Magnus starts growing and keeping him hidden becomes more difficult, especially from the military who is starting to look for Magnus.
My Pet Dinosaur is a hidden Australian gem that feels like the early drafts of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. With crisp visuals and a heartfelt story, Matt Drummond is able to capture everything that’s beautiful about being a child and the world of imagination. Filled will nostalgic moments, it’s also a spectacular take on sci-fi adventure and childhood friendships. Dulieu as well as the other children are natural onscreen, delivering heart, wonderment, and emotion. Comparative to The Jungle Book, their work with the CGI dinosaur blends flawlessly as you suspend your reality and get wrapped up into the story.
Is this movie perfect? No. I would have appreciated if the director focused on making an Australian movie instead of an American film. What results are Australian born actors attempting horrible fake accents and a fictional American town. Fortunately, these small downsides do not affect its quality.
Unlike other CGI movies that seem to solely focused on explosions and special effects, every scene feels organic. Acting takes priority. That’s not to say the CGI looses its quality. The entire production is stellar and shot beautifully. Places like the Wentworth Falls Lake area and Lithgow’s Glow Worm Tunnel are their own characters, filled with mystery and entrancing suspense. As the story progresses, Magnus’ growth looks very authentic.
My Pet Dinosaur is a movie for all ages that’s made with love. While the pacing can be slow, there’s no need to rush what unfolds. Each scene is a lesson in independent film-making that proves even with a limited budget, anything is possible with a strong script and a passionate production crew and cast.