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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Adventures of Jurassic Pet is a family-friendly, modern-day adventure about the sweet relationship between a boy and his most unusual pet, a dinosaur named Albert. While trying to protect his extraordinary new pal, the boy runs into an evil scientist who would exploit Albert for his own gain. The cartoonish action -- exaggerated and absurd -- includes chases (once on a wild ride on a lawn-mower-turned-road-vehicle). Albert is kidnapped, held captive, and shot at by guards with rifles. No one is injured. Magic is part of the equation, not only with the arrival of the chronologically-misplaced dinosaur, but also with an elderly gentleman who has mystical origins and significantly impacts the plot. Fine for kids who are comfortable with real versus imaginary action.
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What's the story?
Chris (Kyler Beck in a delightful performance) is the recipient of a wonderful surprise in THE ADVENTURES OF JURASSIC PET. Having been given a ginormous egg from the rather odd proprietor (Ben Hall) of an antiques shop, Chris watches with amazement as the egg hatches, and the tiny baby dinosaur, which he names "Albert," quickly begins to grow. Immediately protective of his new charge, and worried about what might happen if anyone discovers Albert, Chris keeps the little guy in his backpack, until he can't anymore. A chaotic trip to the supermarket, then a visit to the local museum confirms Chris's worst nightmare. Albert is definitely in danger, most importantly from Dr. Jost (David Fletcher-Hall), an evil and greedy scientist who catches a glimpse of him at the museum and would like nothing more than to use the little dinosaur to recreate the species. From then on, the game is on. It's hide or be captured, and Chris and Albert do a little of each with the help of a homeless fellow who looks surprisingly like the proprietor of the antiques shop.
Is it any good?
Filmmaker Ryan Bellgardt makes the most of some good performances, a credible dinosaur, and his hometown Oklahoma locations to deliver a film with suspense, magic, and lots of kid appeal. Though made on a shoestring budget (the lab facilities in makeshift forest tents are a hoot), Bellgardt keeps the focus on the relationships between Chris, Albert, and the mysterious homeless fellow. The action sequences in The Adventures of Jurassic Pet falter, however, especially the clumsy chases between well-armed guards and the innocents. And was it really necessary to arm the troop of guards for this family tale? Still, for kids who are comfortable with pretend violence, Chris and Albert make a fine team. Final credits reveal that Albert and company will be back for more fun and games in The Adventures of Jurassic Pet, Part II.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of dinosaurs for kids, even little ones. Does the fact that dinosaurs are giant and scary and extinct make them interesting but not threatening? Do you think kids are are drawn to their power and the fact that they roam free? How young were you when you discovered the prehistoric world?
For the most part, the action sequences in The Adventures of Jurassic Pet were not meant to be scary. What are some of the ways filmmakers let us know that Chris and Albert were not in real danger? Consider the cartoonish behavior of Dr. Jost, the bumbling team of guards, and the lawn-mower vehicle on a wild ride.
- On DVD or streaming: April 16, 2019
- Cast: Kyler Beck, David Fletcher-Hall, Ben Hall
- Director: Ryan Bellgardt
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild action
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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