I never thought I’d be writing a review for Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous given how terrible the first trailer made it out to be, but this is one time where I don’t mind being wrong.
Once you can get past the shoddy animation (seriously, how come this show’s animation budget is garbage?!), the first season is actually the best thing to come out of the Jurassic World franchise since the series was revived in 2015. The idea that there was a summer camp on Jurassic World just makes sense and Camp Cretaceous is a great name. (Now all we need is for the franchise to work Triassic into a project title and the trifecta will be complete.)
The teens attending Camp Cretaceous all fit a certain stereotype. There’s the shy one, the nerd, the jock, the influencer, the cowgirl, and the dinosaur lover. They are basically the Breakfast Club, except none of them come even close to being as cool as Judd Nelson.
Honestly, I’m going to roll with The Breakfast Club comparisons because it works. All the teens begin to let their guards down and grow as individuals. …And then the dinosaurs escape. Camp Cretaceous starts out being set right before the events of Jurassic World and then dovetail nicely with the film. You always wonder what is going on elsewhere during this destructive films, and now we know that it was not just Chris Pratt trying not to be eaten.
Now given that this is a series aimed at a younger audience it is the most tame instalment in the Jurassic Park franchise. However, that does not mean it shies away from violence. People do die, it just happens off-screen. And they may or may not kill off one of the teens (I’m trying to keep this as spoiler-free as possible). All I know is that one of the later episodes ends in a cliffhanger that left me shocked.
Since the first season only consists of eight 30-minute episodes, you can finish Camp Cretaceous in an afternoon. It’s a brisk and exciting return to Isla Nublar that helps expand the Jurassic Park universe. And, if I’m being honest, the season finale makes me extremely interesting in watching the second season as soon as it drops. It left the teenagers in a position that I almost wish the film series would have done. It’s bold and takes the franchise in a new direction.
I know some thought the finale ended with a whimper, but I think it did the opposite. It showed that you don’t need lots of dinosaurs and action to wrap up a storyline. All you need is an “oh snap” moment that leaves the audience wondering how the characters will fix their new set of problems next season. I cannot wait to pick up with Jurassic Park‘s version of the Breakfast Club (which I’m realizing may be slightly ironic considering they could end up as a dinosaur’s meal) when the show returns.
Season 2 of Jurassic Park Camp Cretaceous begins streaming January 22, 2021 on Netflix.