The park is closed, all the dinosaurs are running free and wild, and Isla Nublar’s fragile living system is losing all stability, falling into anarchy. Meanwhile, 6 teenage campers have been left behind on the island after missing the evacuation, struggling for survival for months. All the while, a new sinister threat creeps ever nearer.
After a decidedly divisive sophomore season that made some questionable tonal choices all while not pushing the story very far, we were anxiously looking forward to seeing what THIS season had in store. Would it be more akin the debut season, more in line with the reality of the feature films, or would it further embrace its animated freedom, and shake the shackles of sensibility and continuity, pushing for over-the-top, and quirky moments?
Releasing on May 21st, we’ve had a chance to watch the much anticipated third season of Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous! Here is our season 3 REVIEW:
Season 3 begins with a high-stakes escape attempt, after many previous failed attempts, that as you can imagine, also goes awry. Frustrated, the campers find themselves scouring the island once again for ways to finally escape Isla Nublar. This leads them to many exciting locations, both old and new. As they explore the island deeper they not only push their own story of escape forward, but uncover many new mysteries along the way – some of which are very much tied to the mysterious new dinosaur codenamed “E750”, which plays a big role in keeping the campers on their toes.
Best of all, some of the story promises larger reaching implications for the franchise in some very interesting ways.
It seems that with every season comes an improvement in animation, and season 3 is no stranger to that. The dinosaurs continue to look, act, and animate more and more like their big screen counterparts, and the lighting and shading on the characters and environments continues to evolve. The set pieces are thrilling yet logical, pushing the bounds of imagination and fun without breaking away from what we’ve come to expect from the films. From swooping hang glider chases to callbacks to The Lost World, the environments and dinosaurs are constantly creating adventure for the campers and the viewers alike.
Speaking of dinosaurs, the trailer teased the all-new Monolophosaurus, a species that has fast become one of our all-time favorites in both design and behavior. They really dig into a naturalistic yet primal behavior for the species, feeling incredibly fresh for Jurassic, yet entirely at home. We would love to see the Monolophosaurus appear in Dominion, and we imagine it is going to be a big hit from its fun scenes within the season.
Then, of course, there is the mysterious E750, which also feels more fresh than you may expect, has some decidedly terrifying scenes, and fun animation that really helps it stand out from past dinosaurs and hybrids. But that’s not all! The season brings back the Dimorphodons from Jurassic World, the Gallimimus, an adorable baby Brachiosaur, and the all-new herbivorous Ouranosaurus which will bring joy to fans of expanded Jurassic media like Operation Genesis. The season is a dino-lovers dream, and the sequences are thrilling, fun, and fresh, without delving into the occasional ‘jumping the shark’ embellishments like season 2.
The characters expand their relationships and understanding of the dinosaurs in this season, while those very concepts are challenged by the presence of the E750. Bumpy continues to be a fun addition to the show, and does not lack her playful personality, yet feels more plausible and grounded than her previous season 2 depiction. She provides not only a sense of security for Ben and the campers, but also a real connection to the dinosaurs for the audience.
The season is filled with growth and tension, and not just the dinosaur kind. Compelling characters are key to Jurassic, even when their stories are not always intertwined with the larger franchise as a whole.
Darius, Brooklyn, Ben, Yaz, Sammi, and Keni’s bond as a group continues to grow, however not without its challenges, as relationships between the group are tested, as are their survival skills. Their development marks an improvement over the second season, where it seemed much of the growth the characters made in season one was backtracked upon so that the characters could more fit their archetypal roles, often played for laughs over logic. While there is no shortage of playfulness in this season, we see real human growth, as the camper’s relationships evolve in compelling ways, while their trauma – from both off the island and on it – drive many of their decisions.
The campers are given some great scenes, with Ben and Darius sharing some truly compelling moments together. Darius still holds on to a sense of blame from dropping Ben during the monorail attack in the first season, while Ben must learn how to once again be a team player from his traumatic estrangement depicted in season 2. This all leads to some interesting dynamics that play out very authentically.
Kenji, Brooklyn, Yaz and Sammy also share some great development, pushing the story further while evolving them as individuals. Further speaking of pushing the story forward, Dr Wu features in the season in some fun ways, as you’ve seen from the trailers. We found that while his appearance may be limited, we’re finally given some insight into who he is as a person, what his motivations may be, and perhaps even how that could be applied to future Jurassic stories – such as Dominion.
While season two omitted a number of story beats setup in the first, the third seems to get the series “back on track” – so to speak – but does lack any form of storytelling outside of Isla Nublar itself. For example: Dave and Roxy were forced off the island in the first season after knowing full well the kids were still out there. Would these two camp counsellors just accept that all of the children perished – or would they still be fighting for their rescue? There is a missed opportunity here, and one we hope is revisited in future seasons! While this season does begin to tie closer to the stories of films, it would benefit from branching storylines and perhaps adult characters to help tie to the live-action universe in impactful and fresh ways.
Another storyline that was glossed over in the second season is Mantah Corp. Originally setup in season one as the potential “baddies”, they were virtually unmentioned in the second season, and this season does not make up for it. The bioengineering company is given a few small mentions, but feels more like a MacGuffin for Sammy, and ultimately leaves a lot to be desired. We really thought the organization would play a much larger role, especially after their intriguing and threatening setup in season one.
Season 3 however does benefit from an extension of the episode count, using the added storytime to the fullest extent. The two additional episodes are some of the best the series has offered so far, with high tensions across a perfectly executed finale. Overall it makes the story finally feel bigger and further aligns itself with the Jurassic World trilogy of movies.
The third season returns to the roots established in season one, the tone is believable, the stakes are high, and the writing is consistent, albeit perhaps held back by a cast consisting only of kids. The latest season doesn’t lean into the cartoon tropes that season 2 introduced, and instead allows the show to better re-appeal to fans of all ages. While perhaps not living up to the tv animation standards established by Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars Clone Wars, and Rebels, Camp Cretaceous has a lot to offer in a franchise full of frights and adventure. This season shows that the show itself has the potential to become a first-class animated show, like the aforementioned outside examples – hopefully sooner rather than later. Camp Cretaceous has certainly proven itself – which should justify a higher budget allowing for larger set pieces, visual variety, and more expansive impactful storytelling.
Camp Cretaceous Season 3 is a true joyride that flies by, and easily stands as the best of the three. From nostalgic moments, to well-crafted set pieces, compelling character drama, and an engaging story, this was our favorite season yet, and we cannot wait to see how the story evolves and where it goes next.