Just when you thought it was safe to go camping, a Jurassic World short called Battle at Big Rock has arrived to show just how much the world has changed since the ending of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - and sets up a fascinating world for Jurassic World 3 to explore. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Battle at Big Rock stars André Holland and Natalie Martinez as a couple who take their three children on a camping trip in Big Rock National Park, only for their campground to be rudely invaded by dinosaurs.
Battle at Big Rock takes place a year after the end of Fallen Kingdom, which means that the Nasutoceratops that wanders in searching for food has had time to produce a baby Nasutoceratops. The baby is almost eaten when an Allosaurus arrives on the scene, but manages to survive the attack. After the adult is wounded, a second Nasutoceratops arrives, giving the family the window it needs to make an escape. Unfortunately for the human family cowering in their camper van, the baby chooses this moment to start crying, attracting the attention of the Allosaurus, which then tries to help itself to a canned snack.
Just when it looks like the humans are about to lose this clash of the species, little Gracie (Melody Hurd) fires a crossbow at the Allosaurus, wounding its face and causing it to storm off in pain. The family is saved, but the end credits then show a series of other encounters with dinosaurs: the Mososaurus snacking on a shark, a Pteranodon ruining a wedding, a Triceratops crossing a road, and a poor little girl being terrorized by some Compys. Overall, Battle at Big Rock is a promising sign that Jurassic World 3 can be a better movie than either of the previous two.
Battle at Big Rock's Premise Still Doesn't Make Sense
Battle at Big Rock has the difficult task of dealing with the aftermath of a movie whose ending didn't make much sense. The premise for the Jurassic World short is that the handful of dinosaurs that escaped at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom have spent the last year reproducing and creating more dinosaurs in the wild - which raises the obvious question of why the escaped dinosaurs weren't simply captured or killed. The answer to that question, basically, is that Fallen Kingdom was designed to set up a third movie where humans have to learn to co-exist with dinosaurs. The dramatic ending where Dr. Ian Malcolm says "Welcome to Jurassic World" wouldn't really work if the army simply stepped in and dealt with the dinosaur problem before it got out of hand, which would be the logical thing to do.
That being said, we can't really blame Battle at Big Rock for the hand it was dealt by the previous movie. To its credit, it does at least lean into the more interesting of the two angles set up by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's ending - the creation of a world where humans are no longer the apex predator, as opposed to the rather dubious notion of wealthy criminals training genetically-engineered dinosaurs to become soldiers. The end of the short, in which Gracie picks up a crossbow and wounds the Allosaurus enough to make it leave, sets up a Walking Dead-esque post-apocalyptic world where even children have to be trained to battle dinosaurs. While it might seem outlandish, it's an idea that could go in a lot of exciting directions.
Battle at Big Rock's Credit Scenes Show Jurassic World 3's Potential
Jurassic World 3 will be the movie where the new chapter of the Jurassic Park franchise finally lives up to its name. In Jurassic World the dinosaurs were once again confined to the island resort, while Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom moved the dinosaurs from Isla Nubla to containment in Benjamin Lockwood's stately home. Now, however, they are on the loose, and the technology to create more dinosaurs is in the hands of people who are likely to abuse it. That might be bad news for the world, but it's good news for the franchise.
The chief criticism of Jurassic World was that it felt too much like a retread of Jurassic Park: there's a theme park with dinosaurs, the dinosaurs get loose, and the humans are terrorized and eaten. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom tried to expand the franchise's horizons, but was criticized for its weak storytelling and characters, its retconning of the original movie, and its many plot holes - all of which were in service of getting the dinosaurs from Point A (Isla Nublar) to Point B (out in the world). Jurassic World 3 won't be constrained by the responsibilities of moving the franchise's storyline to where it needs to be, so it can actually have fun with the premise of a world where dinosaurs run wild.
Battle at Big Rock's end credits scenes are basically a sizzle reel for Jurassic World 3, showing all the ways in which the renewed existence of dinosaurs will affect life for humans. Maisie choosing to release the dinosaurs rather than let them die was framed as a morally good act at the end of Fallen Kingdom, but the shot of the Mosasaurus eating the shark suggests that Jurassic World 3 could wrestle with the unintended consequences of that decision. Will releasing previously instinct giant reptiles into the wild lead to the extinction of other animals? Or could the dinosaurs become a symbol of nature fighting back against civilization, with humans retreating to the cities for safety and leaving the wilderness to grow a little wilder? People would probably think twice about hunting trips if there was a possibility that they could end up being hunted themselves.
In just eight minutes, Battle at Big Rock sets up an exciting premise for Jurassic World 3 that could make it the best sequel so far - as long as Trevorrow doesn't fumble the execution.
- Jurassic World 3 (2021) release date: Jun 11, 2021