The new Jurassic World short film, Battle at Big Rock, is only just over eight minutes long, but it's actually a better entry into the franchise than either of its full-length predecessors. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock has been released online, and stars Andre Holland and Natalie Martinez as a couple who are enjoying what's supposed to be a nice family camping trip at Big Rock National Park.
However, since this takes place one year after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, it means that things aren't so safe. The end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom had dinosaurs making their way into civilization, and the impact of that is felt in Battle at Big Rock. Firstly, two Nasutoceratops approach the area where the family, which includes the couple's three young kids, are staying. All briefly looks to be safe, until an angry Allosaurus attacks. After assaulting the other dinosaurs, it then makes a beeline for the camper in which the family are staying, and that's when Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock really turns things up a notch.
Despite its short length, Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock nonetheless manages to tell a compelling story within its runtime: the family is instantly likeable, and we immediately share with them that mix of fear and wonder at seeing these beasts up close. That then turns out to be complete horror when the Allosaurus makes its move, but that itself features what the Jurassic World movies should (and have so far failed to do), but making the dinosaur actually scary. There's a genuine threat, a real sense of stakes, and a belief that this huge beast could well kill the people before it, alongside some brilliant thrills, which has all been so lacking from the franchise.
The humans survive thanks to one of the younger members of the family, but that itself is a twist that works because they're are equally as important to this story as the dinosaurs: it's their bid for survival that drives things here, and that enhances the dino-action. Other Jurassic World films have felt a little predictable and stale, and lacked compelling human characters and dinosaurs alike. What Battle at Big Rock really seems to grasp is that by making humans it's easy to care about, putting great kids at the heart of it, having a dinosaur that is really quite scary, along with some other beasts who defy expectations by not attacking the people, and mixing that with some good lighting techniques (the way the Allosaurus emerges and then attacks is extremely well done), there's a pretty easy formula to tell a good Jurassic movie.
That's something both previous Jurassic World movies have missed the mark on, for varying reasons, but this proves that there is still life in this franchise, and that Trevorrow - who is returning to direct Jurassic World 3 - can deliver a good movie. Being just 8 minutes in length definitely helps in that there's no room for any filler, but this is a tightly-crafted, exciting short film that has some great scares and action alongside real, interesting drama, which is everything that a Jurassic World film needs.
- Jurassic World 3 (2021) release date: Jun 11, 2021