Jurassic World Basically Has a Found Footage Prequel

By  · Published on June 12th, 2015

Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment, Inc.

Jurassic World is certainly not the first movie to provide a lot of back story to fans ahead of its release via viral marketing. But there’s something about the faux live cams added to the sequel’s interactive website this week that makes its strategy seem more cinematic than most. Particularly if you watch a YouTube edit of all the cams spliced together, the material comes across as a found footage film depicting everyday events as they occur before the plot of the movie kicks in and everybody at the title theme park is being killed off by the living dinosaurs that were created and enslaved intently for their amusement.

Yes, it’s a rather boring prequel, but that serves a point. When Jurassic World begins, the park has been open to the public for about a decade, and everything has been surprisingly hunky dory. The mundane cams illustrate just how normal it’s become for there to be an island full of mostly deadly prehistoric creatures (and perhaps why they had to go and make a new dinosaur). Meanwhile, there are also viral videos out there, some of them available through the same interactive site, JurassicWorld.com, as well as elaborate literature and images detailing the history, travel information, accommodation and park amenities and even menus for restaurants – like a steakhouse named after Stan Winston.

You can see everything from kids feeding baby dinos at a petting zoo to an updated guide to how the dinos are made (still featuring Mr. D.N.A.) to where to find Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (with a cameo from Jimmy Buffett himself), Sunrio Tequila Bar (featuring tequila made from agave from the Cretaceous Age!), Dave & Busters (with stegosaurus bites, which I hope is meant to be that you’re eating dinosaur meat nuggets), Baked By Melissa, Ben & Jerry’s, Jamba Juice and Starbucks locations to a golf course “where a dinosaur might play through” to which ticket package gives you the most romantic, exciting or family friendly experience – and which ones include the ability to camp in the wild jungle.

Hopefully someone will eventually capture all of the essentials here for a full prequel on the routine of Jurassic World up until now, something akin to Kevin B. Lee’s Transformers: The Premake but for different measure. For now, here are some of the viral videos, including background on Irrfan Khan’s Simon Masrani and his corporation, Masrani Global, which owns the park, plus a silent advertisement for the Hilton Isla Nublar Resort.

This post was originally published on February 4, 2015.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.