Story

A small town appears to be suffering from an unexplained cancer epidemic. As a result its citizens are dying and shops are shutting. After two years, the government finally sends Dr Tansy (David Roberts) to investigate the cause of the epidemic. Meanwhile, as more and more unusual things begin to happen, military leader Colonel Roderick (Rowland Holmes) and his men step up their efforts to conceal whatever is happening from the town’s residents and from the world.

Some local children discover an unusual slimy substance while investigating what they believe is a UFO sighting in the woods. Back at his house, Jake Emory (Jordan Dulieu) and his neighbour Abbey Tansy (Annabel Wolfe) try to discover what the substance is. When Jake’s older brother Mike (Harrison Saunders) comes into the room, they argue and spill a protein shake in the scuffle. This seemingly insignificant event seems to activate the substance. A little while later Magnus, a dinosaur-like creature, arrives. Jake, who lost his dad to the disease ravaging the town, vows to keep Magnus safe and to never leave him. This proves impossible with Magnus’s growing at an incredible rate, the villainous military personnel searching for him, and Dr Tansy trying to solve the mystery.

Themes

Death; serious illness; separation from a parent; animal distress and cruelty to animals

Violence

My Pet Dinosaur has some violence. For example:

  • Mike continually taunts Jake, wrestles him into a headlock and shoves him down.
  • Colonel Roderick threatens Dr Tansy and Abbey when Dr Tansy asks to run tests on the specimen shown at the town meeting. Colonel Roderick’s soldiers all stand behind him, machine guns at the ready.
  • When Magnus grows much bigger, he attacks Abbey and cuts her wrist. When Jake and Mike burst in, she’s cowering in the garage as Magnus moves towards her.
  • Jake’s friends get caught up in a military operation where the colonel and his soldiers are hunting down and shooting dinosaur creatures.
  • Colonel Roderick takes Dr Tansy hostage. There is a violent scuffle in his house although we see only the aftermath. Abbey is very worried for her father’s safety.
  • Dr Tansy is later found dazed and tied to a chair in a cell at the military base.
  • Two fishermen disappear. Colonel Roderick is discovered with one fisherman’s phone but the men are never found.
  • The Colonel and his soldiers forcibly enter the Emory house and place Mike in a headlock while they search the house.
  • Jake and Abbey lead Magnus to safety at an abandoned tunnel site, but they’re discovered by military drone ships that chase Magnus, shooting at him as he runs through rows of abandoned trains. Jake and Abbey hide in a little cave off to the side. A military drone finds them and it’s unclear whether it will shoot them or not. Then Magnus jumps on it and the danger passes.
  • Magnus is chased through the streets by soldiers. Cars flip over and crash, and bridges and overpasses are destroyed. Magnus cuts his face badly as he runs for his life, and we see three deep gashes on his forehead.
  • The Colonel and his soldiers open fire on Magnus. Jake runs into the fray as the town’s residents gather to see what’s going on. The men temporarily stop shooting as Jake calms Magnus. Jake is dragged away when the Colonel gives the command to ‘end this’. The soldiers open fire again, shooting Magnus repeatedly with their guns. Magnus collapses to the ground, apparently lifeless.
  • Magnus is found at the military base, chained to the ceiling of an old building. He’s alive but unconscious.
  • Jake, Mike and a friend are discovered trying to help Magnus escape. The boys are forcibly restrained and Magnus’s life is threatened unless they reveal how they ‘made him’. Once Jake tells them the Colonel gives the command to kill Magnus.
  • Magnus finally moves and stands up with a terrible roar. The men flee and there’s another chase scene. Trucks hit Magnus and flipping over. Soldiers keep shooting until Magnus gets to a fence, where soldiers corner him. Colonel Roderick says that he doesn’t care if he’s responsible for all the deaths if it means he can go ahead with his experiments.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, My Pet Dinosaur has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The opening scenes include suited men with masks walking in a darkened, misty forest. The intense music makes the scene feel creepy and suspenseful.
  • When Magnus first appears in Jake’s room, it’s dark and shadowy and there are glimpses of a creature as it tries to hide. Both Magnus and Jake are scared.
  • Two fishermen catch something on their line that at first just seems to be a huge fish. As they reel it in, it flips in the air and grows in size until it seems to be the size of a whale. It comes back down with its mouth wide open and looks as though it’s going to eat both the men and their boat. At the last second it changes into a small fish and flops on the floor of the boat. The men, who have been screaming in terror the whole time, stop and begin to shake.
  • Piles of goo transform into dinosaurs or other prehistoric-looking creatures. When the creatures are killed they turn back into goo.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, My Pet Dinosaur has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Jake’s friends talk about how so many people have died in their town. One boy talks about a friend whose entire family died. He describes how members of the family suffered with puss-filled boils until they all died. He stops only when the others remind him that Jake lost his dad as well.
  • When Abbey’s dad is taken hostage, a policeman helps track him down using a phone. They are led to the Colonel’s office at the military base. Although they find Abbey’s dad’s phone they don’t find him. Abby is worried she’ll never see him again. 

From 8-13
Some children in this age group might also be frightened by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

My Pet Dinosaur has some sexual references. For example:

  • Mike tells his mother that the police officer ‘was just trying to get into her …’. He’s told not to finish that sentence, but he gestures at her pants.
  • One of Jake’s friends says that he doesn’t want to be ‘seducted by aliens’.
  • Mike says to his mother, ‘You are not my mother! You are just some douche bag’s girlfriend!’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There’s no use of substances in My Pet Dinosaur.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

My Pet Dinosaur has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

My Pet Dinosaur is a family drama that’s a little bit like ET. It’s about friendship and loyalty, and also about how change can be difficult but not always bad.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Loss is not the end of life but just a part of it.
  • Although friendships are challenging they can change you in ways that you could never imagine.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include loyalty, friendship, honesty, compassion and responsibility.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about:

  • taking responsibility for your actions
  • looking after the natural environment and the catastrophic and far-reaching consequences of not doing so.