Netflix's Jurassic World Animated Series Could Be Better Than the Sequel

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Streaming service Netflix will collaborate with Dreamworks and Amblin on Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, an animated series focusing on a group of teenagers trying to survive being lost in the Isla Nublar park. By harkening back to the original film in the franchise, the animated Jurassic World series very well could be better than the actual Jurassic World films.


The Jurassic World films explore a universe where the dinosaur-centric park has become a huge success, allowing generations to see the extinct beasts. But, as always, ambition leads to humanity's ruin. In the first film, a new genetically modified dinosaur is unleashed, leading to outright chaos around the park. Many more dinosaurs get loose, and humans are quickly chased off the island or turned into food. The sequel broadens the scope of the series, destroying the island of Isla Nublar with a volcano but releasing dinosaurs back into the ecosystem.

Although the Jurassic World films have been major commercial successes, they haven't been particularly received well critically. The films have been overstuffed with plots about genetic tampering and the weapons applications of dinosaurs. The original Jurassic Park was much more focused on the terror that comes when dinosaurs target people, specifically children. That element was lost in the sequels, but the premise for Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous puts that element front and center once again.


The synopsis that's been revealed for Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous says the series will focus on a group of teenagers who happen to be at an adventure camp on the island when the events of Jurassic World result in dinosaurs getting loose. While they manage to survive the initial surge of dinosaurs, they're not able to make it off the island. The group is trapped on the dinosaur-infested island and will have to try to adjust and adapt if they want to survive. The brief teaser for the series  really plays up the scariness of the situation. Even in broad daylight, a raptor could find you and attack, and it will be fast, brutal and terrifying.

This harkens back to the frightening tone of the original film, specifically the sequences where Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and his older sister Lex (Ariana Richards) are chased by raptors through the kitchen inside the Jurassic Park main building. The scene is one of the most memorable in the entire film, and among the most tense in any Steven Spielberg film. By refocusing the narrative onto kids of that same age group (which also happens to be the target demographic for this show), Jurassic World could bring the scope of the series back into focus.


The synopsis for the show reveals the unfortunate teens trapped on the island will begin the series as strangers. All brought to the titular Camp Cretaceous, this could allow the creators a lot of freedom in who they cast. Like a teen-targeted version of Lost, the characters could come from any number of places in the world. Even the single teaser image of the cast showcases a range of character types, and their forced cooperation will bring all their differences to the forefront. The synopsis also teases that the group will slowly transform from a group of strangers to a family willing to fight side by side, indicating the peril will bring them together.

The age-range of the characters also means there probably won't be any actual experts on dinosaurs. This means there won't be any Chris Pratt-esque raptor trainers leading a pack to save the day. Instead, they'll be learning as they go, making mistakes and surviving by the skin of their teeth. This will keep the tension ratcheted up throughout the series. The Jurassic World films have traded suspense for spectacle. They go bigger than anything in the original films, up to and including giant dinosaur duels and Toby Jones trying to auction off dinosaurs as living weapons. Instead, the series needs to embrace the horror and tension that were the best parts of the original beloved films. Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous seems to be taking that to heart.

If the show manages to stick the landing and really deliver a tense series set in the Jurassic Park universe, it'll have succeeded where Jurassic World failed by replicating the tone of the original. Plus, it'll still have dinosaurs.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is set to premiere on Netflix sometime in 2020.