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‘Jurassic World: Chaos Theory’ Raises the Bar for an Already Excellent Animated Saga

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The Nublar Six are back! Despite a satisfying and seemingly conclusive ending to Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Netflix announced in November 2023 that the niche animated masterpiece would receive a sequel series. And now, a mere seven months later, it’s finally here: Jurassic World: Chaos Theory. The entire first season of 10 episodes debuted on Netflix on May 24.

[Warning: some spoilers for Chaos Theory as well as Camp Cretaceous are discussed below!]

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous and it’s sequel Chaos Theory

My roommate is the world’s number one Jurassic Park fan. A couple of years back, she told me about this series on Netflix called Camp Cretaceous. She hyped it up as being a surprisingly smart animated children’s series set during and after the events of 2015’s Jurassic World. Naturally, I had to check it out, and I was thoroughly delighted. 

Camp Cretaceous starts out a little slow, but develops into a shockingly well-written, well-rounded series with complex themes and relationships. Throughout its five seasons, it’s impossible not to become attached to the show’s loveable and whip-smart tweens as they battle for survival on an island overrun by dinosaurs. Camp Cretaceous is also unusually dark for a kids’ show, featuring real peril, tangible tension, and some truly heartbreaking moments.

Both my roommate and I loved this series, all five seasons of it. When it ended, we both felt deeply satisfied by its conclusion. We figured that the series had run its course, and that we’d be left with five solid seasons of television to look back on and rewatch with fondness.

So imagine our utter disbelief when Jurassic World: Chaos Theory was announced. Most of this came from the fact that we had no clue anyone else was even watching Camp Cretaceous, let alone that there was demand for a sequel series. But mostly, we both felt sheer joy. We anxiously counted down the days until May 24, hoping that our expectations for this series would be met.

My roommate and I stayed up until midnight to catch the premiere, figuring we’d watch at least the first couple episodes and then finish it the next day.

Y’all. We watched the whole season in one sitting without pausing once. And let me tell you. It. Was. Fan-freaking-tastic.

Darius with a dinosaur
Darius with a dinosaur in Jurassic World: Chaos Theory (Netlfix)

What is Jurassic World: Chaos Theory about?

For those who may not have watched Camp Cretaceous, the story follows a group of six tweens who go to Isla Nublar for a summer camp, shortly before the events of Jurassic World. When the dinosaurs break out, the kids are stranded and have to fight to survive as they attempt to escape the island. Camp Cretaceous ends with them successfully returning home, with plenty of scars, but new-found friendships for life.

Chaos Theory follows these same characters six years later, all grown up and living their own lives. But after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, dinosaurs now roam free around the world, and life is a lot more complicated for the Nublar Six.

One of the Six, Ben Pincus, contacts the others, terrified that an unknown enemy may be using dinosaurs in an attempt to track down and kill them all. The gang reunites, despite some tensions that have grown over the years, and work together to uncover their common enemy.

This new series meaningfully builds upon the plot of the original, further deepening our understanding of these characters, and the world of Jurassic Park. Chaos Theory feels very grounded, and firmly situated in a context that Jurassic Park fans will be familiar with.

In fact, I would even argue that Chaos Theory is already an overwhelmingly better “dinosaurs on the mainland” story than Jurassic World: Dominion was. One of the biggest complaints about Dominion among fans and critics alike was that the dinosaurs felt marginalized and incidental in a movie that was supposed to be about dinosaurs roaming free in the modern world. Instead of focusing on this fascinating concept, Dominion centered around a plague of genetically modified locusts that would destroy the world. Oh, and also there were dinosaurs there, I guess.

Unlike Dominion, Chaos Theory explores just what living in a modern world where dinosaurs run rampant would really be like. There are some really fascinating situations this series explores, such as dinosaur-related PTSD and therapy. Chaos Theory even explores the illegal dinosaur trading concept from Dominion in a deeper and more three-dimensional way. Overall, this series is already promising to be a deep dive into the world of Jurassic Park in a way that even the movies couldn’t accomplish. And we’re only on season one.

The Nublar Six are back and better than ever

Easily one of the highlights of the original Camp Cretaceous was the characters. Darius, Brooklyn, Kenji, Sammy, Yaz and Ben were complex, flawed, admirable and deeply likable characters during that series. They all underwent meaningful character and relationship development as well, transforming them into an endlessly entertaining ensemble cast.

Darius, Sammy and Ben in Jurassic World: Chaos Theory
Darius, Sammy and Ben in Jurassic World: Chaos Theory (Netflix)

But now, in Chaos Theory, they’re all in their early twenties, and things are even more complicated than before. Over the last six years, they’ve been through increased tensions, new feelings, breakups, and separation from one another. But worst of all (this is not a spoiler, it was literally in the trailer) one of the members was recently a victim of a dinosaur attack and is presumed dead. 

The interpersonal conflict and tension was masterfully written in Camp Cretaceous, and Chaos Theory realistically builds on all of this. It truly feels like six years have passed for each of these characters. They’ve all matured, both physically and mentally, and are not the same kids we knew during the original series. I love how the writers aged the cast along with the audience, and I am a huge fan of when shows do this well.

One of the few problems I had with this first season was that a few of the new interpersonal drama subplots felt a little unnecessary. One in particular felt like it was introduced and resolved within five minutes for no reason at all. But for the most part, I think that all the conflict between protagonists in this season feels well-earned. Overall, the writers did an excellent job with these characters, and it’s certain to please fans of the original series.

Oh yeah, also, BUMPY THE ANKYLOSAURUS IS BACK!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The animation in this new Netflix series

I’ll be honest, the animation in Camp Cretaceous was never one of the highlights of the show for me, except for some of the dinosaurs. I always thought it was passable, but nothing spectacular. At least for the first couple of seasons.

That is not the case in this new series at all. I’m not sure where the budget came from, but Netflix has upgraded the animation quality tenfold for Chaos Theory. Everything looks fantastic in this series. All the locations look rich and textured. The character design is excellent as well, right down to the movement of Darius’s hair when he talks, or the subtle emotions on the characters’ faces during tense scenes. 

But the dinosaurs. It wouldn’t be a Jurassic Park show without cool-ass dinosaurs, and the animation department came through. The dinosaurs look phenomenal. My favorite creature design from this season has to be the half-blind allosaurus that Darius is hunting. It’s such a good way to set apart a dinosaur as visually unique and memorable.

Ben and Yaz in danger from a dinosaur in Jurassic World Chaos Theory
Ben and Yaz in danger from a dinosaur. (Netflix)

Jurassic World: Chaos Theory is top-shelf children’s television

While my roommate and I may be huge fans of this show, we are well aware that, being in our twenties, we’re not necessarily the target audience. At the end of the day, it is a show for kids. But I am a firm believer that children’s television can and should be high-quality, well-written, and engaging. Kids are way smarter than many people think they are, and giving them smart content to consume is excellent for their development.

Camp Cretaceous was already an excellent show for this, but Chaos Theory really knocks it out of the park. It is heartfelt, entertaining, and actually intense and scary, without going too overboard. Each of these characters express and deal with their emotions in healthy ways, making them excellent role models for kids watching. The heroes of Chaos Theory also genuinely care for each other deeply and express affection for one another very openly. It’s heartwarming to see a kids’ show with such good models for kids to learn about themselves and about relationships.

If I were to compare Chaos Theory to any other kids’ series quality-wise, it’s reminiscent of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Like Clone Wars, it meaningfully develops and builds upon the blueprint of the source material, to the point that it almost transcends that material. They both start off deceptively straightforward and digestible, before developing and becoming increasingly complex and thoughtful. When kids shows like these exist, there’s no excuse for letting your kids watch anything less.

Final thoughts on Jurassic World: Chaos Theory

I could not be happier with this series. I’m a fan of any show that matures and develops along with its audience, and Chaos Theory absolutely meets this criteria. From the well-rounded characters to the gorgeous animation to the maturer tone, this is a step up from Camp Cretaceous in pretty much every way. It’s an absolute treat for fans of that series, and of Jurassic Park in general.

If you like Jurassic Park, this series is for you. If you like mature and well-written children’s television, this series is for you. If you like heart-pounding action and interpersonal drama, this series is for you. If you have kids who love dinosaurs, this series is for them and you too. I seriously can’t recommend it enough.

Jurassic World: Chaos Theory season 1 is now streaming on Netflix. What did you think of this series? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.

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Sam Pearce

My name is Sam and I recently graduated with two BA's in Journalism and Creative Writing from Western Washington University. More than anything, I love comics, novels, TV shows... just storytelling in general. Some of my favorites include Doctor Who, Star Wars, Godzilla, and all sorts of anime.

Sam Pearce has 25 posts and counting. See all posts by Sam Pearce