Thursday, June 6, 2024

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous [Media Notes 128]

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous is the prequel series to Jurassic World: Chaos Theory, which I’ve already blogged about. It consists of 49 episodes over five seasons (22-24 minutes each), which ran from 2020 to 2022. Thus it centers on the same six characters and has the same showrunners, Scott Kreamer and Aaron Hammersley, thus insuring continuity among the characters.

At the beginning of the series I found all of the characters annoying at times, some more than others. But those annoyances had mostly disappeared by, say, the fourth season. Is that simply because I’d gotten used to them, or because they had in fact changed. For the purposes of argument, let’s say it’s the latter. That’s why I’m writing this note.

Come to think of it, this show is a variation on the “gang of misfits” premise we find in such movies as Seven Samurai, the American re-make, The Magnificent Seven, and The Dirty Dozen. During the early scenes of those movies, misfit fighters are recruited on an impossible mission. They succeed, of course, and during the process become a well-functioning team. The six teens in Camp Cretaceous are not fighters, and they aren’t exactly recruited, but really, they’ve been chosen because they make for good PR. The dinosaurs somehow escape from their cages, things fall apart, the adults flee the island, and the kids are left to fend for themselves.

Which they do, and quite ingeniously. They also have to figure out what’s going on. Some bad people are doing bad things and they have to get to the bottom of it. Actually, there’s more than one bad actor at work. During the course of all this, two young women discover they are gay and attracted to one another, or, perhaps more likely, Sammy knew she was gay all along, but Yasmina had to discover it about herself. And Kenji and Brooklyn fell for one another.

Kenji’s story is the one that most interests me. His father is rich, and has a penthouse apartment on Isla Nubar. He’s entitled and domineering, but manages to get over it by the fourth season or so. Then, at the very end of the fourth season Kenji learns that his father, Daniel Kon, now owns the island. During the fifth season we learn that Daniel Kon is not a good guy. But Kenji, who desperately wants his father’s approval, cannot see that, not initially, while the others see it right off. That disparity puts Kinji at odds with the others, though it all works out in the end, sorta’.

So, did these characters really change over the course of the five seasons? That question is entirely an aesthetic one, for these, after all, are purely imagined characters. Did we see character change, or simply different behavior from the same characters? I think it’s the former, but the question requires more investigation.

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