In the picture

April 16, 2023

Confusingly bland and riddled with plot holes, 65 doesn’t give its talented lead much to work with

In the picture

65 1/2

Starring: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman, and Nika King

Directed by: Scott Beck and Bryan Woods

Tagline: 65 million years ago prehistoric Earth had a visitor.

In the picture

Adam Driver! Sci-fi! Action! Dinosaurs! The dudes who wrote A Quiet Place!

So much potential!

Such a disappointment.

How does anyone even mess something like this up? In so many ways, it turns out.

For starters, look no further than the tagline. When Adam Driver’s Mills – a pilot on a two-year space expedition to earn money for the treatment of his daughter’s (Chloe Coleman) illness – crash lands on a planet after his ship is hit be an asteroid (because his species has mastered advanced space travel and cryogenic sleep and created futuristic weaponry but apparently hasn’t figured out how anti-collision works), his whereabouts should be a mystery that is slowly, suspensefully revealed, not something that is literally stated on the poster in all caps.

But it is, and so we know that Mills has landed on prehistoric Earth, 65 million years in the past. Still, that’s a solid enough premise that can go in several interesting directions. What does the film choose to do with it? Not much, really.

The only other survivor of the crash is young Koa (a very miscast Ariana Greenblatt), and Mills just spends the rest of the proceedings trying to get the two of them to the escape shuttle so that they can get off the dinosaur-ridden planet.

Oh and Koa and Mills don’t speak the same language because why make it possible for the only two characters in your movie to actually talk to each other and have meaningful conversations when you can have a pointless language barrier instead.

It’s all a rather bland mess. The filmmakers could have done so much more with the plot – from taking a time travel path to giving us more impactful drama and horror – and used the Cretaceous period and the survival elements in a more effective way. Instead, they chose to go with the dullest, most boring route possible.

There isn’t enough tension, no mystery or suspense, and no real reason to be invested in the characters’ fate. And while Driver is, as always, a commanding presence onscreen, there isn’t much he can do when the film he’s in insists on being as dumb as possible.

65 could have been a fun sci-fi romp that took you on an entertaining adventure with stakes and impact. Instead we are left with a lazy, generic outing that is just plain unexciting and instantly forgettable.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

In the picture