65 (2023)

Director: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Writer: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Cast: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman, Nika King
Seen on: 10.3.2023

Mills (Adam Driver) is the pilot of a spaceship that transports a group of people, all frozen as they hurtle through space. When they get caught in a meteor shower, the ship is damaged and Mills finds himself stranded on a planet with only one survivor of his “cargo” – Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), a scared girl whose language Mills doesn’t speak. Together they have to make their way to the forest to the escape pod. They realize though that the planet is far from uninhabited – giant dinosaurs roam, making their lives difficult indeed.

65 is a sci-fi movie with dinosaurs. It should be awesome. But instead it is surprisingly uninspired, if not to say outright boring.

The film poster showing Mills (Adam Driver) with a weapon in a forest. Behind him is a T-Rex skull.

65 would have benefitted greatly from not taking itself ever so seriously. But there is barely a trace of fun to be found in the film. Koa cracks a couple of jokes, but once the general plot is established, the film follows the ever same structure scene for scene, so that it quickly loses all tension and sense of adventure. A bit more winking at the audience, maybe, would have gone a long way to keep us entertained and going along with the characters.

But the film doesn’t go there. Driver plays things completely straight, and there is a cheesy subplot regarding Mills’ daughter (Chloe Coleman) who is sick and the reason he sets off on the mission in the first place: so he can afford her treatment. Parallels with Koa ensue, but since Koa doesn’t even get to speak in an understandable language for the audience, their partnership is a hard sell, despite Greenblatt’s best efforts, further underscoring the tropiness of the set-up.

Mills (Adam Driver) carrying Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) through a swamp.

Since the film takes itself seriously, I had to ask some serious questions of it, too – and the film doesn’t hold up to that kind of scrutiny. How come the aliens (Mills, Koa) landing on Earth 65 million years ago actually look perfectly human? Am I to understand that the detritus of the spaceship, including several hundred alien bodies may have provided earth with the genetic blueprint of humanity? But why would we have had evolution then? And, really, couldn’t they think of a society that is at least a little different from the USAmerican capitalist system, where people have to accept shit jobs to afford healthcare and have weapons that look and work just like guns? Plus, are you really trying to tell me that Koa is 9 years old? Greenblatt very obviously isn’t (I googled, she must have been 13 when they shot the film and it shows). That just doesn’t work.

I will admit that I saw the film mostly for the dinosaurs – and there really aren’t that many of them in it, unfortunately. The ones that are there are also rather classic looking, lacking certain updates that science has found out about dinosaurs – like their feathers. It all just shows to me that the film doesn’t understand its appeal – and therefore squanders its potential.

Mills (Adam Driver) and Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) in a cave, looking alarmed.

Summarizing: disappointing.

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