Like a raptor on the hunt, Battle at Big Rock seemingly came out of nowhere. Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow announced the short film just a few days before its premiere, exciting fans everywhere. After a year without any official announcements, fans have finally been given a good look at the aftermath of the dinosaurs' release in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and a small glimpse at what Jurassic World 3 will look like.
Some might worry -- with good reason after two genetically modified dinosaurs -- but the eight-minute film only proves that Trevorrow and co-writer Emily Carmichael know what they're doing with the franchise. It's a great sign of things to come.
Battle at Big Rock takes place a year after the events of Fallen Kingdom. It starts off in the middle of the forest, with a family gathered around a campfire with their RV. Suddenly, the fun stops when a Nasutoceratops wanders into the campsite with her calf and her mate not far behind, searching for food. With these herbivorous -- though no less intimidating -- dinosaurs in sight, our heroic family starts to enjoy prehistoric nature in action. That changes when an adult Allosaurus stomps into camp and attempts to devour the calf. A battle ensues between the Nasutoceratops family and the Allosaurus before the predatory theropod shifts its attention to the human family hiding in their RV. Thankfully, our human protagonists survive the ordeal, saved by the youngest daughter and a crossbow.
At a glance, the plot of Battle at Big Rock offers very little other than affirmation that dinosaurs are now running amok across the American continent. However, look a little closer and you'll find that it also confirms the direction in which Trevorrow said he wanted to take the franchise. The director assured fans in the past that Jurassic World 3 will not feature these giant reptiles terrorizing densely populated cities.
He was very specific about the kind of world he wanted to see. In a past interview, the director explained, "The world I get excited about is the one where it's possible that a dinosaur might run out in front of your car on a foggy backroad, or invade your campground looking for food." It's a grounded approach to rampant dinosaurs. Trevorrow made it very clear that the franchise was not building up to a climactic battle pitting humans against dinosaurs, explaining that his is "a world where dinosaur interaction is unlikely but possible—the same way we watch out for bears or sharks. We hunt animals... we invade their territory and pay the price, but we don’t go to war with them."
While that might sound a little tame compared to the giant monster battles and chases that filled the two Jurassic World films, but Battle at Big Rock shows us how that very concept is the natural next step in the franchise.
The Jurassic franchise as a whole has always been about mankind's futile efforts to control and direct nature. InGen attempted to reproduce, control and exploit the resurrected dinosaurs and it blew up in the company's face time and time again, with each disaster getting progressively worse until finally, the dinosaurs were freed from confinement on Isla Nublar and the Lockwood Estate with no hope of getting rid of them. As Eli Mills said in Fallen Kingdom, "You can't put it back in the box," meaning humans will simply have to adapt and learn to live with these ancient beasts. Battle at Big Rock shows us just how difficult that will be with one of its final shots before the credits.
At the end of the short, the camera slowly zooms out to reveal the frightened family sitting in the shredded remains of their RV. It's a powerful image that captures the theme of the franchise, reminding viewers that in this world, humans are not gods among these animals, in fact, more often than not, people are simply bystanders caught in the chaos of nature. At least a part of that might have been lost beneath the action sequences, but that's understandable in a short film. We cannot expect anything like the in-depth discussion of ethics and consequences featured in the original Jurassic Park.
There is vision here, more so than the final instalment of the Jurassic Park trilogy. With what has been accomplished in Battle at Big Rock, fans can rest assured that Trevorrow and Carmichael will succeed in balancing the action with the drama with Jurassic World 3. If the conclusive film successfully builds on everything that was thematically set up in this short, the current trilogy will have potentially topped its predecessor -- the one that ended with the brief appearance of a talking Velociraptor.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World 3, starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt, is set to be released on June 11, 2021.