REVIEW: ‘Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous’ Combines Dinosaur Mayhem With Adolescent Bonding

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Camp Creaceous

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is a Netflix original animated series, distributed by Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Television. It is developed for television by Zack Stenz and produced by Steven Spielberg via Amblin Television, as well as Colin Trevorrow and Frank Marshall. Taking place during the events of the first Jurassic World film, the series focuses on six kids who win a chance to participate in the “Camp Cretaceous” experience. However, chaos breaks loose on Isla Nublar and they must work together to survive.

DreamWorks and Universal are no strangers to animated spinoffs of their films, with Fast and Furious: Spy Racers being a key example. Camp Cretaceous takes a different approach as it weaves perfectly in and out of the events of Jurassic World. If viewers haven’t seen the movie they can still follow along. If they have seen the movie, they’ll appreciate how this series manages to run parallel to the film while still telling its own story. There are various nods to the Jurassic Park franchise as well, including the return of Mr. DNA. Series showrunner Scott Kreamer has a deep love of the films and it shows.

The best part of the show is its main cast of characters. The series follows Darius (Paul-Mikél Williams) a massive dinosaur fan who wins a trip to Jurassic World. He is joined by arrogant rich kid Kenji (Ryan Potter), social media superstar Brooklynn (Jenna Ortega), hyper-friendly country girl Sammy (Raini Rodriguez), introverted gymnast Yaz (Kausar Mohammed) and overtly nervous Ben (Sean Giambrone). At first, the campers barely interact with each other: Darius wants to see dinosaurs, Kenji is above it all, Brooklynn is trying to rack up views and Ben would rather be anywhere else. Yet in the wake of the chaos gripping the park, the kids learn to work together.

The biggest bond is between Kenji and Darius. The two couldn’t be more different. Darius is full of wonder and had to work hard to make his dream come true, while Kenji acts like he’s above everyone else. Yet they slowly connect over many, many near-death experiences and a friendship blossoms between them. The pair’s fathers also loom large in their lives, as Kenji feels distant from his father and Darius wanted to go to Jurassic World with his. Stentz is no stranger to building unlikely bonds between pre-teens, as shown in Rim of the World. The other campers get their time to shine, especially Ben who has one of the biggest hero moments in the series. Jameela Jamil and Glen Powell also shine as camp counselors Roxie and Dave.

It also wouldn’t be a Jurassic World series without dinosaurs. From Jurassic World‘s monstrous Indominous Rex to Owen Grady’s Velociraptor companion Blue, there are plenty of familiar dinosaurs roaming the park. Two new dinosaurs take center stage: Toro the Carntaurus and Bumpy the Ankylosaurus. Bumpy is absolutely adorable-I defy viewers not to fall in love with her. Toro acts as an antagonist to the campers, breaking free in the second half of the series and terrorizing the campers as they try to escape.

While the series is relatively bloodless, it does NOT skimp on death or terror. We see dead bodies in the park and a helicopter explosion. And our main characters are frequently in danger, whether it’s by chance or by their own actions. The series strikes a great balance of tones, flipping from humor in one scene to horror in the next.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous manages to perfectly blend adolescent bonding with the dinosaur-fueled mayhem the series is known for. Given how the season ends, the series has plenty of potential left in the tank and could connect to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Fans of the films or families looking for their next binge will definitely want to check it out.

The first season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is currently streaming on Netflix.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous manages to perfectly blend adolescent bonding with the dinosaur-fueled mayhem the series is known for. Given how the season ends, the series has plenty of potential left in the tank and could connect to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Fans of the films or families looking for their next binge will definitely want to check it out.