The campers have been given a great sendoff. This Camp Cretaceous season 5 review explores what makes this season such a big improvement over the previous one.
Daniel Kon is a terrific antagonist that keeps the show interesting from start to finish. Also, the pacing works in such a unique fashion. However, there are a few hiccups in season 5.
Camp Cretaceous season 5 is available on Netflix.
This Camp Cretaceous season 5 review contains spoilers.
Story: Countdown to the Finale
Last season, the campers found themselves on an island new to both them and the Jurassic Park franchise. The audience was left on a major cliffhanger once Kenji’s father, Daniel Kon, was unveiled as the president of Mantah Corp. Season 5 picks up right where the previous season left off during this reveal. The lack of a time gap helps set a different tone for season 5 than the previous seasons. With the mysterious boss of Mantah Corp revealed, the countdown to the end starts.
Much of the story revolves around Kenji. Finding out that his father is the president of the organization that he and his fellow campers have been working against puts him in a very difficult situation. At first his father does a good job of convincing him that Mantah Corp is helping the dinosaurs. However, Kenji remains torn for most of the season, which is very well written. The whole arc feels very natural from beginning to end.
Season 5 adds another romantic relationship to the fold. Yaz and Sammy confess their feelings for each other about halfway through the season. Many fans think that this is the most natural romantic pairing possible with the six campers. Their romance is enjoyable and well written.
However, both relationships cause an issue for the show. Camp Cretaceous started as a group of six teenagers who are forced into dire circumstances when they end up stranded on an island with dinosaurs. Through their efforts to survive, they form an incredibly strong bond, creating a very compelling friendship theme for the show. In season 4, the romance between Kenji and Brooklynn was added to the mix. Then Sammy and Yaz get together in season 5. These romances undermine the overarching theme of friendship that the first three seasons of the show established. The result is the audience ends up seeing them in pairs or as individuals rather than as a group of six friends with an incredibly strong bond.
However, there would be another issue without the romances. It would feel unnatural for a group of teenagers stranded on an island for months not to develop some romantic entanglements. They’re isolated together during a time in their lives in which it’s natural to explore romance. Hence, writing the show without the romances would have made the show less believable, which could very well have been a bigger issue than the romances undermining the theme of friendship.
Characters and Performances: Daniel Kon
The antagonist is a major highlight of this Camp Cretaceous season 5 review. Daniel Kon is an extremely well executed corporate villain and his deceptive nature keeps the show exciting every episode. Much of that pertains to how he steers his son Kenji. He uses Kenji’s desire to earn his love and approval to control him throughout the season, which goes a long way in establishing the audience’s hate for him. In addition to being well written, Daniel Kon’s appearance is also perfect for the role. He wears a slick suit and is always very clean-cut. Andrew Kishino does a great job portraying Daniel Kon by keeping his tone relaxed and confident at all times. That way it’s understandably hard for the other characters to tell whether or not he’s being honest.
Kenji has a unique role to play this season. When this series began, Kenji started as a spoiled rich kid, which isolated him from the other characters. As the show progressed he grew as a person and his bond with the other campers helped him gain perspective.
In season 5, his father tugs him backward. Daniel Kon uses his craftiness to manipulate Kenji into thinking that the campers are no longer on his side. Combining that with Kenji’s desire to earn his father’s approval is enough to pull him away from the other campers for most of the season. This creates an interesting new dynamic for the six campers. Separating Kenji from the other five campers allows the characters to be used in new ways, and the romance between him and Brooklynn adds a further layer to it as well. Kenji’s whole predicament is very well written and really tugs at the audience’s heart strings. It’s understandable that he wants to think the best of his father, and it takes just the right amount of time for him to come to his senses.
Pacing and Editing: Uniquely Good
One big issue with season 4 is that the dinosaurs had far too little screen time. There were far too many scenes focused on the humans. Looking at season 5 on paper, it seems like it should have the same problem as season 4, but in actuality it works perfectly. Even when the dinosaurs aren’t centerstage, the other elements of the show keep it interesting. The dialogue is well written, and many characters really shine this season. Also, the editing keeps it lively by changing shots pretty frequently rather than committing to one angle for too long. It’s a great way to keep the audience engaged, even when a scene isn’t action-packed.
Additionally, there are a lot of great shots in season 5, particularly of the dinosaurs. For example, seeing the Nothosaurus from underwater makes the scene feel very eerie. Also, Darius looking up at the gigantic Spinosaurus is a great way to convey the gravity of his predicament.
Cinematography and Sound: A Few Continuity Errors
One point a criticism in this Camp Cretaceous season 5 review is that this season has a few continuity errors. As in a few on-screen details require further explanation than the show gives them to make sense to the audience. When it comes to asking the question, does this require further explanation? A general rule of thumb is that if you need to ask then the answer is yes. So, here are two examples of Camp Cretaceous season 5 failing to walk that line.
In the first episode, the campers start out visibly dirty. Then they clean themselves up in the investor’s suite. Later, when they are letting Big Eatie out of containment, the dirt is back again. How do they get dirty again? It’s not like letting Big Eatie go requires getting down in the mud. To fix this, the audience either needs to see how they get dirty, or they could simply not be dirty in this scene. It’s possible that an animator simply used the wrong models by mistake here.
Also, a similar error pertains to the two variants of Dilophosaurus. Prior to episode 7, it seems like the yellow-frilled ones live on Mantah Corp Island, and the red-frilled ones live on Isla Nublar. Then in episode 7, Ben and Yaz encounter the red-frilled variant in the swamp biome on Mantah Corp Island. So, if it’s not that there are two different colored variants living on each island, then the audience needs to be cued in on why there are two different colors for that scene in episode 7 to make sense. However, an animator may have used the wrong models here as well, which seems more likely considering that episode 9 features a yellow-frilled Dilophosaurus in the swamp biome.
Violence is Blatantly Concealed
Camp Cretaceous’s biggest flaw has always been balancing violence with kid-friendliness. It simply doesn’t work, yet many franchises try it these days. Season 5 is not as egregious are other seasons are with this issue, but it is still noticeable. Especially when humans come into harm’s way. The production executives go a long way to make sure that the audience never sees a human get chomped on by a dinosaur.
Spinosaurus’s Iconic Roar is Back
In season 4, the Spinosaurus never roared like it did in Jurassic Park III. The reason for this may also pertain to kid-friendliness. Perhaps the production executives thought it would be too scary for an animated series. However, it was a significant let down because that booming roar was so iconic in that movie. Luckily, in season 5 the Spinosaurus sounds much more like it did in Jurassic Park III. This minor change makes the animal much more menacing than it was in season 4.
Video by (Cretaceous CampGrounds).
I have been scouring reviews of the finale and is NO ONE going to mention Sammy is wearing the same clothes in the epilogue zoom call? How did they overlook this when they aged her up a bit by changing her hair a little? This will haunt me for the rest of my days…