Keeping it real in Jurassic World animated series

You might think that in a cartoon series in which beasts of aweinspiring size are a key attraction, the aim would be to make them as fantastic as possible.

But Colin Trevorrow, executive producer of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, wants the opposite.

The American film-maker wants the cartoon creatures to not look cartoonish.

“We’re a franchise grounded in science, real science, and if we let go of that, we’d give up something that makes us unique,” says Trevorrow, 43, to journalists from South-east Asia in a virtual press conference on Monday from his home in London.

The animated series will premiere on Friday on Netflix. In the series, six teenagers are in the camp of the title when the dinosaur breakout of the 2015 film occurs. Unless they use their wits, the teens will not make it to safety.

The series and the films share a common universe, with stories that will become more intertwined over time, he says.

In the films, even when fictional animals appear, such as the terrifying man-made hybrids Indoraptor (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 2018) and Indominus rex (Jurassic World, 2015), they look to be within the realm of possibility, he says.

When the science is real, it serves to heighten another classic element of the franchise – the sense of terror. The fear factor will not be watered down for the series, he says.

“Adults and children are in real danger in the show. Death is unexpected and unearned,” he says.

In most films, death comes as punishment for the villain, but dinosaurs are animals and “animals are not conscious of that, so good people are in as much danger as bad people”, he says.

Facing fear might be something children need, he adds.

“We might be making horror movies for children, but being a kid is a scary thing.

“I think it’s good to have kids get their fears out of their system in a cathartic way by seeing the children in the show triumph over danger.”

He is familiar with the Jurassic franchise, having directed Jurassic World, the franchise’s fourth movie, and was a writer on the follow-up, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

He is a writer and director on the next film in the series, Jurassic World: Dominion, to be released next year.

Trevorrow speaks about how he considers himself a “custodian” of the franchise’s ideas, first expressed in the 1990 novel by Michael Crichton and the first movie, Jurassic Park (1993), directed by Steven Spielberg.

In the 1990s, the Jurassic Park book and films were cautionary tales about technology deployed without a moral compass.

The Jurassic World films of today depict the fallout of the “poor decisions made in the 1990s”.

“I find them to be relevant in a world that has to deal with climate change and other disasters we are all trying to get through as a planet.”

Like humans are today, dinosaurs were once the dominant species before they vanished.

“Dinosaurs are a reminder of the need for humility,” he says.

  • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous premieres on Friday on Netflix.