It’s a movie about Adam Driver as a spaceman fighting dinosaurs. What could go wrong? 65 (as in 65 million Years Ago) is a sci-fi action thriller with a ripe concept overworked by blockheaded studio notes that mitigate its potential and engagement. I was initially intrigued because it was the directorial debut of the writers of A Quiet Place, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. That 2018 movie was a masterful genre exercise, though director John Krasinski was also a key contributor and rewrote their initial script. First off, I don’t know why this movie makes the decision to have Driver from an advanced alien species that crash lands on a prehistoric Earth unless it was related to the eventual development of humans on this planet. The opening segment explains in text and then a “Dad, don’t go” flashback before jumping into the action of the crashing spaceship. Even the dramatically protracted title reveal (65…………. MILLION YEARS AGO!) makes little sense considering the timeline was conveyed earlier. It makes me think about studio execs questioning whether audiences would get it, so what follows is mostly a survivor story of surrogate father and surrogate daughter (Arianna Greenblatt). A lot of our emotional involvement hinges on this relationship and I don’t think it carries the film. There’s a language barrier with the little kid, which is an interesting complication for their cooperation, but it also means Driver’s absent father is projecting a whole lot onto this little kid as if she were his daughter. The central relationship is serviceable but unremarkable, which could also suffice for discussing 65 as a whole. Driver trying to escape from a dinosaur territory dispute could have been plenty for survivor thrills, plus with little Predator-style advanced weapons to even the playing field of man and beast. What I didn’t need was a literal apocalyptic final act where Driver and the kid must not only survive dinosaurs but get off-planet before the big dinosaur-killing meteor strikes. It’s excessive bombast that feels tacked-on, like studio execs worried that dinosaurs by themselves would be boring. 65 is loud and obvious and only 90 minutes, and that can be enough for escapist entertainment, but it squanders its bigger concept.
Nate’s Grade: C+
Posted on April 8, 2023, in 2023 Movies and tagged action, adam driver, dinosaurs, drama, sci-fi, thriller. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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