Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, a new animated series set in the Jurassic world, is arriving on Netflix this week. And while it may be a cartoon, Steven Spielberg, the grandaddy of the Jurassic franchise, had some advice for the creators: don’t make a kids’ show. Spielberg stressed that the series needed to feel just like the Jurassic movies, which aren’t exactly geared at small children.
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous “follows a group of six teenagers chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at a new adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar. But when dinosaurs wreak havoc across the island, the campers are stranded. Unable to reach the outside world, they’ll need to go from strangers to friends to family if they’re going to survive.” The animated medium and focus on kids makes it sound like Camp Cretaceous is a children’s show, but according to the showrunners, Steven Spielberg told them to avoid that approach.
“When Steven gave the okay for the project, when he gave the final sign-off, his marching orders were, ‘Don’t do the kiddy version,’” showrunner Scott Kreamer told io9. “‘It needs to feel like it’s Jurassic Park. It needs to feel like it’s Jurassic World.’ And we went for it.” While I’d be fine with the show not feeling like Jurassic World (those movies are bad, folks, sorry), I do appreciate Spielberg advising Kreamer to not pull any punches. That said, I sincerely doubt we’re going to get an episode where a dinosaur chows down on one of the kid protagonists. Still, Spielberg knows a thing or two about putting kids in danger, since he’s done that in many, many films. So there’s that.
Kreamer added: “In all the films, the kids are the side characters who need to be rescued by Alan Grant, Owen Grady, or an adult. So the whole idea is: Let’s put kids in the center of the story. Let’s cut off adult help. Let’s make them have no one to count on but each other. And really, that’s just the entire impetus for this story, is let’s empower the kids and see what happens.”
Fellow showrunner Aaron Hammersley said: “I think that we may not do kids a service by sheltering them from all of those things. And I think it actually opens up your world in allowing for more stories to be told if you can incorporate those themes into your stories.”
These are all good points. That said, Camp Cretaceous doesn’t hold much interest to me. The fun of the Jurassic films is seeing dinosaurs in the real world, interacting with real people. When you make the entire world animated it drains away some of the magic. But if you’re interested in checking the show out, it hits Netflix on September 18.
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