Battle At Big Rock - A Jurassic World Short Film - Analysis & Review
Jurassic Park is one of the best movies ever made. The premise was executed flawlessly, and it gave audiences something they've never seen before. The same cannot be said about the sequels, which either offered more of the same or squandered the franchise completely.
When the franchise was rebooted in 2015 with Jurassic World it made all kinds of money. The relaunch gave the signature tension and visuals, but the story was a bit lackluster. Then came its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. It was frustratingly dull, baffling, and offered nothing new until the very end, when it changed the entire course of the franchise on a whim. It was by far the worst in the franchise, squandering the talents of all of its leads. But it left its mark by having dinosaurs live in the wild with humans. It shifted away from Jurassic Park and is running full steam ahead to Planet of the Apes. However, this gives the franchise something fresh to play with.
Before Colin Trevorrow does Jurassic World 3, he released this short film called Battle At Big Rock, which just dropped this weekend. The entire thing is on YouTube, and you can watch it below.
The "film" stars Andre Holland (Castle Rock, Moonlight) and Natalie Martinez (Death Race, End Of Watch) as a married couple on a camping trip with their kids when dinosaurs come and cause issues.
As a sequence, its thrilling. It has everything you want from a Jurassic World dinosaur battle. But it doesn't tell a complete story. This looks more like it was a deleted scene from Jurassic World 3. It needs more context and depth. The Pixar short films have set the bar extremely high on what a short film can be. Those tell a complete story, with emotional arcs and everything. Battle At Big Rock doesn't. Why are people camping if they know there are dinosaurs? The dialogue at the beginning made it seem that this was a long term situation instead of a weekend trip with Holland's character offering supplies to his neighbor. Did they get driven out of their residence by dinosaurs? Are there colonies of humans trying to find refuge from dinosaurs? Adding a layer like that would have made all the difference.
If this was branded as a prologue to Jurassic World 3 or something like that, maybe it would have worked better. But if it is supposed to stand on its own, it doesn't work well.
The cast is stellar, hopefully they carry over to Trevorrow's sequel. To waste that sort of talent on an essentially meaningless 8 minute short is disheartening.
In a bubble, Battle At Big Rock is perfectly enjoyable, just like if one watched a lightsaber fight from a Star Wars movie. It would be entertaining, but wouldn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things. This did nothing to move the narrative forward. The end of Fallen Kingdom told us dinosaurs were released into the wild. Big Rock enforces that, but doesn't add to it.
Hopefully a different prism will be used to view this short film after Jurassic World 3 comes out. But until then, it doesn't instill confidence in the franchise that was shattered by Fallen Kingdom.