‘Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous’ Darkens Mood, Amplifies Realism in Season 3

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From bloodthirsty dinosaur hybrids like the Indominus Rex to equally hungry hunting human dinosaur poachers, the fearless children of DreamWorks Animation Jurassic World: Cretaceous Camp have endured more than their fair share of trauma all over Isla Nublar. And, of course, in season 3, which comes out this Friday, May 21 on Netflix, even more excitement awaits our young survivalists.

The new season of Zack Stentz’s award-winning Annie series finds campers nearly six months after their miserable time on the island, now well experienced in living alone in the jungle amid their friendly and unfriendly prehistoric neighbors.

But now they are planning their escape.

“Season 1 was all about these kids running for their lives,” executive producer Scott Kreamer says. “And season 2 was about them waiting for rescue. In Season 3, more time has passed and they are done waiting for people to save them. They decided it was something they were going to do on their own.

As well as battling pterodactyls with hang gliders, basking briefly in the luxury of Kenji’s penthouse, ordering life rafts, and dealing with another new experimental and toothy threat, the kids also return to where it all started – not their base camp at Jurassic World, but John Hammond’s original madhouse, jurassic park.

For Kreamer, it was a dream to revisit and animate the famous jurassic park entrance and glass dome, and even recreate the kitchen scene stalking raptors; the Camp Cretaceous gang hide behind metal tables and gas burners as scaly carnivores shake doorknobs, bar their teeth and sniff hot breaths against the windows, bringing onlookers back to Tim’s original terror and The ex.

“We’re a team of fans so it was really great,” he says. “That’s what you hope to do when you’re on a project like this, bringing those iconic sets and scenes to life. And Leo [Birenberg], our composer, must certainly make more of the music of this original film. The goal of this show has always been to make it look like we’re part of the same universe and not some kind of children’s TV spin-off.

But as amusing as Kreamer puts it, he and the team had woven nostalgia for Steven Spielberg’s iconic saga into their show, the producer notes that it was also the most emotionally trying season yet. “These characters grew up together, but also as individuals,” he notes. “They saw death and the time spent alone in the jungle with Bumpy changed him, which has an impact on his relationship with the group. Darius is the boss, but that doesn’t mean everyone will agree with him or do what he says, and that’s something he has to face. Sammy still doesn’t know what happened to his family back home. They take care of a lot of things.

He adds: “They got stuck on this island together, like in quarantine, with the same people, day after day, and it’s starting to happen to them. And, you know, things aren’t all rosy.

While Darius struggles to accept that he can’t always solve everyone’s problems – only made worse by Ben’s disinterest in being a team player – Kenji is weighed down by a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. self. Not to mention that everyone seems to have new apprehensions about leaving the island, some bound by a sense of duty to the animals, others out of fear of what their life will be like when they return home.

And watching these children each go through their own existential crises, says Kreamer, was even difficult for the team. “I give our amazing writers a lot of credit for creating characters that are close to our hearts and thankfully the audience cares too,” he says. “Then you see the care and time that artists, directors and everyone else put into it. We’re all really invested in these kids, but obviously we can’t make it easy for them. So there are times when the artists will read the script and jokingly give the writers a “How could you do that?” These poor children! “

Kreamer also says it was intentional that as these characters delve deeper into their own psyches, the animation and visuals get much darker. “Things are definitely dark this season, and the color palettes and mood swings of the show reflect that,” he reveals. Season 3 is filled with dark tunnels, garages, elevator shafts, and spooky lightning storms rather than bioluminescent caves, open fields, and park malls from previous seasons. “Our animators also spent more time with these characters technically, so the visual play is even better this season than before. And that goes for dinosaurs as well as our children. We always try to bring it as close as possible to the real. “

Attention to small visual elements – arguably minor details like the growth of Brooklyn hair roots and the gradual deterioration of children’s clothing with stripes and stains – adds to the heightened emotion by conveying a sense of aging. and maturity in the characters, and a realism rarely seen in other animated shows. “These things have become incredibly difficult to follow over so many episodes, but it’s worth it because normally you don’t get them in the animation,” Kreamer notes. “Bart Simpson has been wearing the same outfit since 1989. So very early on we started talking about what the characters would look like after being on the island for five or six months. It took a lot of planning and a lot of people followed things like, ‘Even though the characters are dirty on this shot, now that they’ve been in the water, are their shirts and skin clean now? Is there dirt left in some places? “

He continues, “I understand why people don’t do this more often in animation, but it adds realism. And from the start, we left with the idea that the devil is in the details.

And it’s these details, Kreamer believes, that add to the relatability of the characters and make for a strong bond between the characters and the fans. “When I took on this job, I was like, ‘Some people are going to listen to dinosaurs, but if we’re going to attract an audience, for a while you have to want to encourage these kids,'” he says. “You have to live. and die with them. You must want to see what they run into and what they do about it. Fortunately, we have a group of campers that people have joined and we are all with them.

Expanding on an already large and well-known franchise, it would be understandable to assume that all traces of stories about the fear of genetically modified dinosaurs have been exhausted. But, because of these children, their psychological and physical struggles, their struggles with inner demons as well as the 12-foot tall ones hiding among the trees, Kreamer and the rest of the world. Cretaceous Camp the creative team managed to captivate audiences for three seasons. And I hope for more.

“They are smart kids and they have good hearts and good intentions, and things don’t always work out with those intentions the way we would like them to,” says Kreamer. “But they don’t stop. You want to see them wrestle, but you want to see them rise to the occasion, and they always do. No matter what we threw at them, they just keep on going. They keep fighting and that’s one of the main reasons I really like this season.

Photo by Victoria Davis

Victoria Davis is a full-time freelance journalist and part-time Otaku with an affinity for all things anime. She has reported many stories, from activist news to entertainment. To learn more about his work, visit victoriadavisdepiction.com.



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