65 Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
As an astronaut crash lands on an uncharted planet, he soon realises he is not alone. A race against time ensues, as he & the only other survivor need to find a way out.
Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
Director: Scott Beck & Bryan Woods
Cast: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman & Nika King.
Run Time: 93 min.
US Release: 10 March 2023
UK Release: 10 March 2023
German Release: 09 March 2023
When the first trailer hit the net, I was surprised at everything it had given away. Nevertheless, I was sure that there must be more to it than what it had shown. To my utter shock, it turned out to be the biggest snore-fest I have seen in a long time on the silver screen, because the simple truth is that the trailer is the whole premise. Having been heavily marketed, even securing an advertisement spot at the Superbowl, I fully understand the angry reviews, since it is a waste of an hour and a half. So relax, as I answer the question about how it’s possible that a sci-fi flick, with dinosaurs, can be this boring.
After a catastrophic collision with an uncharted meteorite field, pilot Mills needs to crashland on an unknown planet. Having lost everyone aboard, except for a little girl, Mills and survivor Koa need to make their way through a territory riddled with prehistoric creatures, in a fight for survival.
This will probably be one of my shortest reviews, given that this action sci-fi does not have much substance to discuss!
First things first, the paper-thin premise is an amalgamation of several different properties, such as After Earth meets Jurassic Park, with elements of the games Turok and The Last of Us sprinkled in. Given the inspirations, this should have been a fast-paced, action-heavy picture, with solid character development. Instead, we get a lot of walking, with some shooting every twenty minutes, or so. In a nutshell, this feature is what we saw in the trailer, stretched over a painfully slow hour and a half of runtime.
The idea perse is interesting, especially if the revelation about prehistoric Earth would have been kept under wraps until the end, recreating a Planet of the Apes-like final twist. Then there is the inaccuracy of the design of the dinosaurs themselves, who look at times like reptilian alien creatures, or some form of Kaiju concerning the larger ones. Finally, a discovery is made about sixty to sixty-five minutes in that should have sped up the pacing, yet it kept dragging at a slogging tempo!
There is very little dialogue, with the largest chunk happening at the beginning and end. For the largest portion, though, it is Driver monologuing in English, while Greenblatt spewed out some alien gibberish every few minutes. Why the character of Mills is speaking our language is not explained.
This is a two-man show, as the feature is carried by Driver plus Greenblatt, with Coleman only popping up during flashbacks, and King making a sole appearance during the introductory scene. Thus it doesn’t help that the script contains no characterisation.
Adam Driver’s performance is compelling, giving his best with the little that he is given. Mills is a spaceship pilot from planet Somaris, who is on a two-year expedition trip to earn enough money for the treatment of his daughter. Driver lends the character emotional vulnerability, however, the persona is written to be stoic, without much personality.
Ariana Greenblatt gives an equally strong rendition, considering that he has even less to do. She plays the only crash survivor Koa, who was in stasis during the collision with the meteors. Her chemistry with Driver is solid, selling the surrogate father-daughter dynamic. Her vulnerability feels real, thanks to Greenblatt’s acting.
Cinemaotographically, 65 feels as bland as the screenplay. The opening scene on the planet Somaris is overlit, while specific scenes on Earth are too dark, making it hard to recognise what is happening on screen. The repetitive plus awkwardly spaced-out inserts of action segments, screech the pacing to a near halt, making the short runtime feel longer than it is. The colour palette makes use of green, blue, orange and golden tones.
The CGI dinosaurs look unconvincing, which is possibly the reason why it showcases mainly smaller reptiles than big ones, as it is much more noticeable with the larger creatures. It also explains why some are kept in near darkness. The VFX for the spaceship as well as the universe, on the other hand, are well rendered.
The music was composed by Chris Bacon, with Danny Elfman serving as co-composer. It contains suave, mystical science-fiction tunes.
Verdict: This premise had real promise and should have worked, either as a character-driven story, with action segments sprinkled in between, or as a cheesy B-movie. Neither path was chosen, instead creating a boring narrative, in which the leads need to walk from one point to the next, with random dinosaur attacks happening every fifteen, to twenty minutes. The trailers revealed the complete story, not that there is much of it to begin with. The short runtime appears to be twice as long, thanks to a dragging plot, aided by the awkwardly spaced-out action scenes. The cinematography is as dull as the script, while the computer-generated dinosaurs look unfinished. The only positives are the renditions of the two leads, whose roles are written cartoonishly one-dimensional. In the end, 65 is a disappointment of untapped potential, as well as a tedious slog of a movie. A waste of time that doesn’t deserve more than a 3.5 out of 10.
Did you go see this sci-fi film in cinemas? If so, what did you think? Do you agree with my review? Leave a comment in the section below & thank you for reading.