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The Jurassic World Cartoon Is Surprisingly Even Darker Than the Movies

The Jurassic World Cartoon Is Surprisingly Even Darker Than the Movies

Ever since Jurassic Park hit screens in 1993, the dinosaur-led film series has become one of the biggest franchises in the world, spanning six movies with a seventh on the way, theme park attractions, and countless pieces of merchandise. Like every big-budget film franchise, it also has recently gotten a television expansion, first with Jurassic World: CampCretaceous, which aired on Netflix from 2020 to 2022, and now the sequel series, Jurassic World: Chaos Theory, which recently debuted on Netflix.

Jurassic World: Chaos Theory is a sequel series to Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous and is set between the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World: Dominion. The series sees five of the returning characters, previously known as the Nublar Six, investigating the death of one of their former members. Easily a dark setup for what appears to be a kid’s series, it also features plenty of dinosaur violence, deaths, and even missing limbs. Despite being a CGI-animated series, it is certainly a darker entry in the franchise than Camp Cretaceous and, at times, feels like it pushes more ground than some of the recent live-action films.

Here is why Jurassic World: Chaos Theory is so much darker and why this is a good thing for the franchise.

Chaos Theory Is Aimed At the Audience Who Grew Up with Camp Cretaceous

While there is only a two-year gap in time betweenJurassic World: Camp Cretaceous coming to an end and Jurassic World: Chaos Theory debuting, or even four years since the beginning of Camp Cretaceous and Chaos Theory, it is worth noting that is a long period of time for an animated series and for a kid-centric audience. A child who started watching Camp Cretaceous in 2020 (at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic) at eight years old would now be twelve. They want to continue with the characters they loved from the first show but want it to mature along with them.

This is certainly a format that many other franchises aimed at kids have followed. Each Harry Potter movie got darker and more mature as the audience who watched the first film as a kid grew up alongside the movies. Star Wars: The Bad Batch is certainly aimed at kids, but it is more geared toward the now adult audience who watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars as kids. Jurassic World: Chaos Theory is on a similar track, just at a more accelerated pace, given the nature of streaming television. Now, the irony is that Jurassic World: Chaos Theory is a more mature take on the franchise than some of the recent Jurassic World films.

The Darkness of Chaos Theory

Jurassic World: Chaos Theory pushes the franchises forward in some interesting ways. Following the small-scale, intimate nature of the first film, all the massive carnage in the sequels has been played for spectacle. The most memorable set piece of Jurassic World was the massive attack on the park entrance, which saw Jimmy Buffett’s cameo as Margarite Guy fleeing an attack while the personal assistant character Zara (Kate McGrath) is violently attacked, but it is not played for horror but for spectacle.

In contrast, Jurassic World: Chaos Theory features a scene where a Becklespinax kills an island full of innocent bystanders. There is also a great POV shot of a character having to hear the cries and screams of a friend being attacked by a dinosaur, where the implication of violence is even more terrifying than seeing the act.

It’s not just the violence that makes Jurassic World: Chaos Theory so dark, but the mature subject matter. Whereas the films tend to be action-adventure stories, Jurassic World: Chaos Theory delves deep into the character’s struggles. It is a character-centric drama with friends needing to come back together and open up. They are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder from the events of the previous series but also the death of their friend at the beginning of this series. After all, the movie’s human characters brush off their dinosaur encounters, even after losing people close to them.

Jurassic World: Chaos Theory shows the weight of these horrific dinosaur encounters. Both Chaos Theory and the recent hit X-Men ’97 show that for a series to be mature and dark, one does not need explicit language or even gory violence (though both shows do push the limit), but what makes them darker is the subject matter they choose to tackle and how they approach it.

Chaos Theory Can Take More Risks

Chaos Theory has a much smaller target audience than the typical Jurassic project. It’s aimed at older kids who grew up with Camp Cretaceous and older fans of the franchise in general who will watch anything with Jurassic in the title. This means that it is allowed to take more risks than the live-action films which need to be four-quadrant mass appeal films.

Jurassic World and its two sequels, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World: Dominion, all cost over $200 million to make, which meant they needed to reach the widest possible audience to maximize a return on investment. These movies were designed to be appealing to anyone and, because of this, it often meant they went with safe choices like bringing back legacy characters and making the plot bend over backwards to include them.


Jurassic World: What Went Wrong with the Franchise

The Jurassic World trilogy was a huge financial triumph, but it also represents a vastly squandered opportunity.

In contrast, Jurassic World: Chaos Theory is a lot cheaper to produce than the films (cheap being relative to $200 million blockbusters), and since the series is more focused on keeping audiences’ attention and hooked to the screen, it spends more time making the audience invested in the characters. Jurassic World: Chaos Theory opens with the big reveal that Brooklyn has seemingly died following the events of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. Killing off a fan-favorite character that fans spent years being invested in at the start of this new series is a big swing, but one that the creators trust the viewers will be invested in.

This then makes the story a personal one, focused on human relationships as much as the dinosaurs. The live-action films could never risk killing off one of the human characters from Jurassic Park or Jurassic World off-screen because it would likely anger a lot of fans, which has now left the films feeling like they have their hands tied behind their back and not able to move forward. Jurassic World: Chaos Theory, meanwhile, is allowed to push forward because it is made for a niche audience and doesn’t cost as much to produce.

Jurassic Park 7 Should Learn From Chaos Theory

A seventh entry in the Jurassic film franchise is currently in development. The currently untitled Jurassic film will be directed byRogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards and will star Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Bailey, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Mahershala Ali, Luna Blaise, and Rupert Friend. It will open in theaters on July 2, 2025. Very little is known about the plot of the film, but the filmmakers could learn a lot from Jurassic World: Chaos Theory.


The Jurassic Franchise: Where Another Trilogy Could Go

With a second Jurassic trilogy now closed, where could a third installment of the franchise go in the future? Dominion provided plenty of options.

One major element in Jurassic World: Chaos Theory favor is it actually follows up on the exciting setup from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom of dinosaurs in the real world, as opposed to Jurassic World: Dominion, which perplexed many audience members by being focused on locus. The next Jurassic movie needs to really deliver on the dinosaurs in the world that Jurassic World: Chaos Theory has delivered on. That means possibly embracing the horror elements but also not being afraid actually to put characters in peril.

This doesn’t mean showing massive carnage, as sometimes the implied violence and cutting away from a brutal dinosaur attack and hearing only the audio of screams in Jurassic World: Chaos Theory can be just as terrifying. A Jurassic movie will make a decent box office profit off the name and dinosaurs alone, so why not experiment a bit? Jurassic World: Chaos Theory has shown how far the franchise can go. Stream Jurassic World: Chaos Theory on Netflix.

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