About a year ago, eagle-eyed Jurassic Park fans noticed a strange addition to the franchise’s history. All over the internet, the name Battle at Big Rock was appearing. First in Mattel’s leaked toy-line and then on Universal’s own website.
Rumours of a short film soon swirled around the internet with many inside sources saying that it would be released prior to this year’s Hobbs & Shaw. The release date for that film came and went with no news on this intriguing addition to the Jurassic World universe.
Then a couple of weeks ago, the official Jurassic World Twitter and Instagram accounts released a teaser poster that answered many fans’ prayers: Battle at Big Rock was coming and sooner than anyone had expected. At just under 9 minutes in length, it certainly is a short film – but is it a pleasing addition to the saga, or one that’s best forgotten?
Where does Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock take place? Taking place one year after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in the fictional Big Rock National Park, the film follows the camping trip of a typical American family. Shrouded in secrecy, no casting calls were made for the film with director Colin Trevorrow (who is also back to helm the third instalment in the series), meeting with actors directly to avoid any unnecessary leaks.
The film stars André Holland, Natalie Martinez, Melody Hurd, and Pierson Salvador. The actors do well with their limited screen time and feel very much a part of the universe. Of course, no JP film or short would be complete without some dinosaur action and here we have a new entry and one that has only made its debut a couple of times previously.
Nasutoceratops and Allosaurus do battle over the course of the 8 minute running time and are beautifully realised despite an obvious drop in budget. CGI and one single animatronic are used to great effect and evoke memories of The Lost World as we see them do battle, with the only lighting coming from a spotlight and campfire. It serves to remind us of how very small we are in comparison to the animals that are now running amok in civilisation after the last film.
Cinemtographer Larry Fong (Kong: Skull Island & Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) gets it absolutely spot on and while the cinematographer for Jurassic World 3 hasn’t been announced yet, from his efforts here, I’m hoping he’ll be asked to return. The shots of the dinosaurs rampaging against the backdrop of a simple campsite is fantastic.
And don’t miss the end credits, which look at how dinosaurs are impacting the daily lives of humans across the US. From ruined weddings to road traffic accidents, this is what many fans were hoping to see from Jurassic World 3, and if Battle at Big Rock is anything to go by, they’re going to get it and then some.
Overall, Battle at Big Rock is billed as short film and a treat to fans, but what it actually represents is a litmus test of what director Colin Trevorrow and new to the franchise scriptwriter Emily Carmichael are going to bring to the table in 2 years time. Despite Carmichael’s dubious honour of penning the script for Pacific Rim 2, it appears, on the face of it at least, that the epic conclusion of this trilogy is in good hands.
Jurassic World 3 is released in cinemas across the globe in June 2021.
Watch Battle at Big Rock below and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.