Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Is the Franchise's DARKEST Story
As lighthearted as it is at times with its wandering teens, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is the darkest story in the franchise.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the first season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, now streaming on Netflix.
The Jurassic Park movies, as fun and filled with wonder as they are, do have some sinister elements to them. It's no surprise since audiences are shown how scientists love playing god, and with every film revolving around dinosaurs breaking free, whether in a park or the city, there are a few scenes with people getting eaten.
In reality, though, it's not that gory or explicit, as the franchise is geared towards kids and teens, after all. However, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous takes it to a whole new level because, while it's initially positioned as an adventurous family series, it's the property's darkest story to date.
There are many heavy themes at play in Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, with tragic backstories and issues of abandonment informing the kids' personalities and how they handle themselves in the wild. The lead, Darius, has a very somber arc as he lost his terminally ill dad and is now living their dream of experiencing the park together. These moments are quite sentimental and offer an emotional respite from the kids being chased by monsters, which adds a dimension not really explored in the movies. The other kids are placed in very serious backgrounds as well, with Kenji being ignored by his rich family and Ben being shunted to the park as his parents don't like how he's an introvert.
Sure, they seem like light arcs at first, but it's pretty dire knowing families rather shove kids off to areas where it's known dinosaurs can escape and kill humans rather than spend time together and bond. It's even worse with Sammy, whose family ranch is in debt, which leads her to go behind her friend's backs as a spy. This trope is a familiar one, as seen with Wayne Knight's Dennis Nedry in the first film and Alessandro Nivola's Billy in Jurassic Park III. But to see a kid as a spy, infiltrating labs and aiding corporate espionage for Mantah Corp. is quite intriguing. Not to mention, there's Brooklynn's addiction to social media and blogging that puts her in dangerous situations for the likes and shares, something that speaks to problems with teens today.
But while all this could be chalked up to character development and carving out dynamics, the show is surprisingly violent. There are a lot of kills as the teens see many people being eaten by the Indominus Rex, not to mention Ben falls off the monorail, giving the initial impression he's picked off by Pteranodons. It also gets psychotic with Eddie, a research lab assistant who has a breakdown and tries to flee, only to be eaten by the Indominus. It shows the kids how the park takes a mental toll on people, and in times of desperation and survival, people abandon each other and turn into monsters themselves. Coupling all this with the plethora of near-death experiences for the kids, it's startling to see there are no adults around like Chris Pratt's Owen or Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire to help out. The kids' handlers never make it back to them, and with so many monsters running around, one has to wonder why there aren't people equipped for emergency rescues in this highly-dangerous zoo.
The finale, "End of the Line," best sums it up when the youngsters have to fight off their archnemesis, the Carnotaurus, at the tunnel leading to the docks. They're damaged, tired and after seeing multiple adults devoured, they have no choice but to use aggressive tactics. This leads to them blowing up the beast, Toro. However, the beast doesn't die, it just gets burned up. It stares the kids down and walks away in defeat, but seeing as they're stranded there, it could be coming back for revenge. It's a bit sad because the kids invaded the natural environment of these creatures so to see them celebrating this means there's still a lot to learn about nature and mankind. Lastly, the fact the kids are abandoned on the island says it all, as T-Rexes and such are still roaming, and as fans know, the volcano will soon erupt and destroy the place. This makes the ending quite bleak and reminds us that these parks are often run by idiots who have no clue how to protect people.
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Colin Trevorrow, Scott Kreamer and Lane Lueras, with Zack Stentz serving as a consulting producer. The series is streaming now on Netflix.