Synopsis – An astronaut crash lands on a mysterious planet only to discover he’s not alone.
My Take – Every year we see a certain number of films release, which easily have more potential than what was served up. This one is one of those.
At first glance, this latest feature from writers and directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, known specifically for writing the John Krasinski directed A Quiet Place (2018), seems to have a whole lot of potential, an idea that gives room for multiple possibilities and numerous story lines. It takes us sixty five million years back when two people from a very advanced race, find themselves stranded between the dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period.
Sadly, this twist doesn’t really add much to the overall film, as directors Beck and Woods are more invested in speeding up to tell a tale that is predictable. That isn’t to say it’s not a fun film, because it is. It just could have been better, and that’s a shame. Whatever you see on the screen isn’t bad or unbearable, but nothing is like something you have never seen before.
It is tried and tested formula, and to add more dismay, the makers don’t even use the characters to raise human conflicts in this wilderness. The film aims to please the most basic expectations. If you are looking for a film that features Adam Driver fighting dinosaurs, that is exactly what you are going to get. If you want more, you might leave disappointed.
Set 65 million years ago and beginning on the planet Somaris, the story follows Mills (Adam Driver), a space pilot, who agrees to embark on a two-year space expedition to earn the money needed to treat his ill daughter, Nevine (Chloe Coleman). However, on the journey back to Somaris, the spaceship crashes into Earth during the Cretaceous period.
With his ship damaged and split in half, he finds that his all passengers have been killed and contemplates suicide until he finds a lone survivor, a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt).
Though she doesn’t speak his language and constantly reminds him of his own daughter, the two decide to traverse the treacherous terrain together and do whatever it takes to get to their escape pod that includes surviving bloodthirsty prehistoric creatures and a fast approaching asteroid.
What follows is certainly more entertaining than not, but it does have its issues. Writers and directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who also pulled double duty on the gruesome yet underwhelming Halloween horror film Haunt (2019), emphasize on ferocious special effects, a fast tempo, and adventurous tension, but the plot is never fully fleshed out.
As far as plots go, the film doesn’t offer much novelty other than the fact that it’s based 65 million years ago and that humans are actually aliens from another planet. But it’s just as difficult to swallow that the film’s leading man (ironically named Adam) is the first man on earth, and is dressed up like a modern-day youngster, speaks fluent English and is single-handedly fighting mammoth creatures with absolutely no special powers.
It’s actually a far-fetched idea that seems to have been bankrolled into this larger-than-life visual spectacle without much thought. The biggest problem lies within the plot. There are several things that are brought into the story that feel like they could have big implications, one in particular that happens to Mills but we are keeping this spoiler free, and then they don’t ever come back up.
Because of the timing of 65 million years ago, this takes place literally as the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs is about to hit Earth. This means that not only are Mills and Koa trying to get off the planet, they have to fight dinosaurs and try to beat a ticking clock. This is a lot to process and to pack into a ninety three minute film.
Even Mills and Koa’s backstories are completely unexplored because the story is dedicated to being a film about fleeing from gaping dinosaur jaws and a quest to locate a lost escape pod, but the microscopic focus feels slight and unfulfilling given the setup. Barring a few places where it falters, the special effects are quite good and the cinematography (by Salvatore Totino) is breathtaking.
Performance wise, Adam Driver‘s commitment as an overprotective caretaker shines. The actor is convinced that he is out there to kick-start a franchise. Here, Driver brings a thoughtfulness to his genre character even when the screenplay doesn’t, a humanistic approach that grounds the bombastic silliness around him.
Ariana Greenblatt continues to prove that she is a very natural performer, even without dialogues, she makes us feel her pain of losing her parents even with a loosely written screenplay. Chloe Coleman is also a delight. On the whole, ‘65’ is an underwhelming science fiction action thriller that delivers what’s on the tin and nothing more.
Directed – Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Starring – Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 93 minutes