As a long time fan of both the Jurassic Park/World movies, I’ve been dying to see if they’d ever make a series and what exactly that’d look like. Well, they did and it was nowhere near what I pictured or hoped for; being that it was an animated children’s show. But just because it wasn’t what I’d hoped for, doesn’t mean I didn’t like.
This new series follows six lucky kids who’ve either won or bought their way onto Isla Nublar, where the new park has been built. Except instead of getting to experience and enjoy Jurassic World, they’ll be on the opposite side of the island taking part in an adventure camp run by two adult counsellors. Taking place simultaneously with the events of Jurassic World, the kids find themselves trapped and stranded with the Indominous Rex on the loose and must band together in order to survive.
Although the show is clearly targeted at a younger audience, there’s still lots to enjoy here. The characters are very likeable and it has an empathetic and undeniably cool lead in Darius, voiced by Paul-Mikel Williams (Westworld). Darius is a young teen who recently lost his father whom he specifically bonded with over dinosaurs and had plans to attend the park together. Darius soon becomes the group’s first pick to lead them to safety, and while at first he doesn’t believe in himself, he begins to prove that he’s a worthy leader and their best bet. Other standouts were the characters of Kenji who was voiced by Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6, Titans), a spoiled rich kid who acts like he’s on top of the world to hide the fact that he has an absent father and a lonely life. And Brooklynn, respectively voiced by Jenna Ortega (You, The Babysitter: Killer Queen), an Instagram influencer who comes to prove she is more than the persona she’s created. Both Potter and Ortega are clearly the strongest of the voice cast, along with both starting out as the two least likeable characters, only to end up being the most fleshed out and enjoyable.
Now, when it comes to how the animation looks I’m very mixed about it. There were some moments where it looked exciting and beautiful, and there were sequences where I actually thought it may be a little too intense for most kids; but overall it looked pretty cheap and way too childish. The biggest problem with this series is that it seems confused about who exactly this is targeted at. Too intense for children but too childish for adults isn’t exactly a strong selling point and may be reason for some to just not keep watching. On top of that this is part of a series that is specifically known for its special effects and visuals; so the last thing a Jurassic World entry should be is cheap.
At the end of the day, Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous isn’t going to break any new grounds and I honestly don’t think it was here to. It delivered a fun adventure for kids and even adults who are fans of the series, like myself. There really were moments where I held my breath in anticipation for what would happen next, some fun nods to the original film and a great ending. My only hope is that if they get renewed for a second season that we get better visuals and a more enhanced script; and I really do believe we’ll be getting a second season.