Camp Cretaceous Finally Makes The T-Rex The Villain Again

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Jurassic World spin-off Camp Cretaceous was met with mixed reviews, but the show managed to make the T-Rex into the star of the series once again.

Netflix’s Jurassic World spinoff Camp Cretaceous has been met with mixed reviews, but the show has managed to make Jurassic Park’s original main attraction, the T-Rex, the star of the series once again. Released in September 2020, the first season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous saw a set of mismatched teens stranded in the titular doomed theme park and scrambling to survive as they faced down attacks from countless prehistoric threats.

Despite its much-criticized character design, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous won over many of its initially harsh critics with its quick-paced action, likable characters, and a solid voice cast including The Goldbergs star Sean Giambrone and Babysitter 2: Killer Queen standout Jenny Ortega. And one element fans and reviewers both agreed on was the downbeat but exciting ending that saw the young survivors stranded in Jurassic World, despite their attempts to escape.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous season 2 just arrived and the animated series can be commended for bringing one beloved aspect of the original Jurassic Park movie series back into focus. The Jurassic World films have recently opted to sideline the legendary original Jurassic Park monster, the T-Rex, in favor of new, genetically engineered monsters like the Indominus Rex and Indoraptor. In contrast, Camp Cretaceous season 2 brings the formidable monster back, returning to the atmosphere of the original films by making the T-Rex more of a star and reminding viewers that the franchise doesn’t need a new villain to conjure up scares and thrills.

Ironically, the first Jurassic World movie made a point of criticizing its human characters for attempting to replace the T-Rex, with Bryce Dallas Howard’s initially cold, profit-driven Claire paying a high price for failing to question the creation of the Indominus Rex. Chris Pratt’s heroic Owen may note in-movie that the T-Rex was more than scary enough for a new generation of kids without requiring genetic experimentation, but Jurassic World itself nonetheless centered the Indominus Rex as its primary villain, and the sequel upped the ante considerably by bringing in the Indoraptor, another fictional genetic experiment that was stronger, smarter, and more lethal than the T-Rex.

Camp Cretaceous, in comparison, has wisely used its second season in service of reinstating the T-Rex as the most ferocious force in the Jurassic Park universe. It’s a canny decision by the small screen adaptation of the Jurassic World series, whose limited budget and quicker turnaround time make it hard to beat the Jurassic World movies in terms of viewer immersion. While the lower-budget, more self-contained action of Camp Cretaceous may not be able to pull off ambitious set-pieces like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s sequel-hook ending, the Netflix show can remind viewers of the more modest (and still plenty scary) appeal of the original Jurassic Park trilogy as embodied by its beloved villain, the still-terrifying T-Rex.