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Review: 'Jurassic Pet' holds magic for the little ones

Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 12:34 PM Central

by John Couture

I don't know if there has ever been such a disparity in tone and subject matter between reviews on the same day as there is today. First up is the family film The Adventures of Jurassic Pet, which is squarely aimed at the younger set who are obsessed with dinosaurs but still watches parts of Jurassic World behind their fingers.

My five-year-old son is squarely within this demographic and I only wish that I would have recorded his reaction upon seeing the review DVD for The Adventures of Jurassic Pet. Needless to say, he became very animated as kids of his age are wont to do and he started demanding that we watch it immediately.

Thankfully, I was able to convince him to wait until a rainy Saturday morning and watch it together as a family. I'm glad that I waited because the experience was one that allowed me to provide a more honest review of the film than I would have been able to give otherwise.

The story follows a young teenager who adopts and hatches a baby T. rex only to have a mad scientist steal the creature so that he can realize his warped dreams of using this T. rex's DNA to clone a whole new breed of dinosaurs. Now the teen must team up with a homeless man to rescue his dino pet and to thwart the scientist's diabolical plans.

As I mentioned, this is a film that plays very well to a very specific demographic, basically kids under the age of 8 or so. Since I was watching The Adventures of Jurassic Pet with my son and daughter, both of who are squarely in the target audience, I got to see the film through their eyes. They were both mesmerized by Albert the T. rex and were transfixed by the rather predictable plot.

Had I watched this film by myself late at night, I would have required several fingers of a good bourbon simply to make it to the end. That's not a critique of the film itself per se, but rather an indication that our viewing experience is certainly influenced by our surroundings. In much the same way, it helps to explain the crazy demand for tickets to see Avengers: Endgame next weekend when it hits theaters. The film will be what it is no matter when we see it, but the experience of seeing it in a packed theater with passionate Marvel fans will absolutely have an effect on our feelings about the movie.

I have found that since I have become a father that the lens through which I critique films has evolved. I wouldn't say that my tastes have changed, because let's face it The Adventures of Jurassic Pet is direct-to-video vanilla fare on par with Sk8 Dawg or A.R.C.H.I.E.. In fact, they might even come from the same company because I'm pretty sure that they were advertised on the DVD.

But, more power to them. There is an audience for this type of film and if you find yourself with little ones, then there are far more egregious films out there. For my money, The Adventures of Jurassic Pet is well made and well acted, if a bit too puritanical for my tastes. The lead is the epitome of a squeaky-clean white teen that plays well for the MAGA crowd but fails in terms of introducing more diversity to the picture.

I will only say that my children loved the film and have it on active rewatch mode, which means that I've seen it more than any human should. At the end of the day, it fills the void for those young dinosaur fanatics until they are able to handle the more mature imagery in the Jurassic World films. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

The Adventures of Jurassic Pet is now available on DVD.