Australian Council on Children and the Media

My Pet Dinosaur

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Due to violence, themes and language this film is not recommended for children under the age of 10, parental guidance is recommended to 13.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for My Pet Dinosaur
  • a review of My Pet Dinosaur completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 April 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 This film is not recommended for children under the age of 10.
Children aged 1 0- 13 Parental guidance is recommended for children between the ages of 10 to 13.
Children aged 13+ Most children over the age of 13 could view this film with or without parental guidance

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: My Pet Dinosaur
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and mild language
Length 96 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

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

A group of local kids discover an unusual slime like substance while investigating what they believe to be 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 it is. Jake’s older brother Mike (Harrison Saunders) comes into the room, they argue and, in the scuffle, a protein shake is spilled. This seemingly insignificant event becomes a catalyst for the goo and shortly thereafter, 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 incredible growth rate, the villainous military personnel searching for him and Dr. Tansy trying to solve the mystery.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

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

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Mike continuously taunts Jake, wrestles him into a headlock and shoves him down.
  • Colonel Roderick threatens the safety of Dr Tansy and his daughter when Dr. Tansy asks to run tests on the specimen shown at the town meeting. His men all stand behind him, machine guns at the ready.
  • Magnus, when he grows much bigger, attacks Abbey and cuts her wrist. She is found cowering in the garage as Magnus moves towards her when Jake and Mike burst in.
  • Jake’s friends get caught up in a military operation where the colonel and his men are hunting down and shooting the dinosaur creatures.
  • Colonel Roderick takes Dr. Tansy hostage. There is a violent scuffle in his house though viewers only see the aftermath and 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.
  • The two fishermen also disappear. Colonel Roderick is discovered with one fisherman’s phone but the men are never found.
  • The colonel and his men forcibly enter the Emory residence 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 are 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 is unclear if it will shoot them or not. Then Magnus jumps on it and the danger passes.
  • Magnus is chased through the streets by the military. Cars are flipped over and crash; bridges and overpasses are destroyed; Magnus cuts his face badly as he runs for his life and three deep gashes run the length of his forehead.
  • The colonel and his men open fire on Magnus. Jake runs into the fray as townspeople gather to see what is 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 men open fire again, shooting Magnus repeatedly with their guns. Magnus collapses to the ground apparently lifeless.
  • He is later found at the military base being chained to the ceiling of an old building, 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 another chase scene ensues with trucks hitting Magnus and flipping over. The military continue to shoot until Magnus gets to a fence where he is cornered by the armed men. Colonel Roderick discloses that he doesn’t care if he is responsible for all the deaths that have occurred if it means going ahead with his experiments.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • 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 is 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 into the air and grows in size until it looks to be the size of a whale. It comes back down with its mouth wide open and looks as though it is 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.
  • On different occasions throughout the film a pile of goo transforms into a dinosaur or some sort of prehistoric looking creature. When the creatures are killed they turn back into goo.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Jake’s friends talk about how so many people have died in their town and one boy recounts how someone lost their entire family. He describes how they suffered with puss filled boils until everyone 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 lead to the Colonel’s office at the base and although they find his phone they do not find her dad. Abby is worried she will never see him again.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Some children in this age group may also be frightened by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • There is nothing of concern.

Product placement

  • None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Mike tells his Mom that the police officer: “was just trying to get into her…” He is 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 tells his Mom: “You are not my mother! You are just some douche bag’s girlfriend!”

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None of concern

Use of substances

  • There is no substance use in this film.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Insults such as: jerk, idiot, stupid, dork
  • Pissed, pissed off, suck, crap, holy crap

In a nutshell

The main messages from this movie are that loss is not the end of life, just a part of it and that while friendships are challenging they can change you in ways that you could never imagine.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Loyalty
  • Friendship
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
  • Responsibility

 

 

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of taking responsibility for their actions, about how we all have a responsibility to look after the natural environment and how not doing so can have catastrophic and far-reaching consequences.

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