Battle at Big Rock Reignites Jurassic Park Nostalgia: Review, With Spoilers

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Universal released a short film, “Battle at Big Rock” on Sept. 15. The film takes place between Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and the next Jurassic film, set to be released in 2021. Graphic by James Neidhardt. 

I have never been a huge fan of the Jurassic Park franchise. While I do love the original movie and novel, the sequels have not done much for me. 

The Lost World: Jurassic Park was an okay movie; the only memorable part being the climax, where the T-Rex gets loose in San Diego and embarks on a rampage. It makes potent allusions to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s seminal science fiction novel and equally influential 1925 film adaptation, The Lost World. 

Jurassic Park III was absolutely dreadful, with baffling plot holes and questionable CGI even for the time of its release in 2001. Fourteen years later, Jurassic World was released; which was a genuinely decent film, with Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow’s directing being particular highlights for the film. 

I still have yet to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to Jurassic World. I have heard mixed reviews, but I will never come to conclusions about a film without having seen it. 

With all of that history out of the way, fans are now treated to a short film set within the Jurassic Park/World universe titled Battle at Big Rock. This short film is directed by Trevorrow; returning after stepping down from directing Fallen Kingdom, instead opting to only write and produce the film. 

The short film follows a family as they embark on a camping trip in a world where dinosaurs coexist. This premise definitely raises my eyebrows, as I don’t know anyone who would go camping while dinosaurs exist in our food chain. It seems to be an incredibly irrational decision. I am proven right as there is a dinosaur attack and conflict within the first two minutes of the film. 

With that said, barring my reservations about the plot, I think the rest of the short is quite good.

I especially love when the dinosaurs first arrive, and the family witness a vicious schism in which there may be a fatality. That scene felt especially raw and real to me, specifically when the father tells his children: “This is nature.” 

That little bit of nuance, which in this case, something as fantastical and uncanny as a violent dinosaur battle given real life consequences and perspective, is what I always loved about the first Jurassic Park film and novel, whether it was used for humorous or dramatic effect.

The rest of the film is shot with beautiful and gripping cinematography and blocking, therefore adding to the tension and suspense of the situation. This is a testament to Colin Trevorrow’s directing and the fact that he is able to convey such high stakes and terror in such a short, eight-minute film. 

The story of the family is not developed and that does not matter, but what does matter is the way that Trevorrow encapsulates the claustrophobia the family feels as they struggle to survive once the dinosaur tears apart their camping home.

The ending is also phenomenal, with the little girl fending off the Allosaurus that tore apart her family’s shelter. 

The rest of the family gather and hug as the camera pans to show the remains of their shelter.

It is a powerful and striking image that cements the collateral damage and impact that the dinosaurs had on their trip, as well as the implication of the greater trauma that was inflicted on them.

I give this film an 8/10. This is a fantastic short film which really gets at the core of what made Jurassic Park such a charming and riveting film and novel in the first place: the juxtaposition between the fantastical and real human emotion.