65 (2023)

Genres - Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Mar 10, 2023 (USA)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Travis Norris

There is something special about going to see an over-the-top, big blockbuster action flick on the big screen. When the audience can suspend their disbelief and just take it all in, the magic of the movie really shines. Unfortunately, 65 is not one of those films. At the highest level, 65 seems to be a pretty interesting concept. The story seems just wild enough to work on the big screen, and it had a chance to capture some of that movie magic. Co-written and co-directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, this prehistoric adventure just doesn't grab you the way it could, which is very disappointing. There is still some fun to be had, but by the time the credits roll, audiences will realize that it's just another average sci-fi flick.

65 million years ago, an intergalactic pilot named Mills (Adam Driver) is assigned to a new exploratory mission somewhere in the depths of space. He is hesitant to accept the two-year journey, but the pay raise that comes with it is too good to turn down. His daughter, Nevine (Chloe Coleman), is very sick and their family could really use the money. When his ship runs into an unexpected asteroid field, they make a crash landing on a mysterious planet (Earth). Only one other person survives the crash, a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt). Together, they must get past their language barrier and learn to work together, because their crash site is surrounded by some of the most dangerous dinosaurs to ever exist.

What 65 does have going for it is its interesting setting. By mashing up space exploration and the dinosaurs, Beck and Woods tap into many childhoods. Bringing them together provides the ingredients for an awesome movie, and it can sometimes be seen, shining through the cracks. But viewers will quickly be reminded that the film has no real plot; it operates on more of a "let's just drop an incompatible duo on planet Earth while the dinosaurs are alive and see what happens" attitude. The lack of creativity is glaring, as if the filmmakers just expected the audience to be in awe of the setting.

The acting in 65 is also a major turnoff. The duo of Driver and Greenblatt just never pay off, their lack of chemistry is apparent. Driver seems to be uninterested most of the time, almost as if he was doing this film as a favor; this is a man who has lost everything, and you never really feel bad for him. The horror elements of 65 were a nice surprise, but they run thin. There are true moments of suspense that provide a legitimate scare, usually achieved through some tricky camera work.

For the most part, 65 is a forgettable sci-fi romp through a 65-million-year-old Earth. The 93-minute run time is a godsend for the film, because any more of the obnoxiously loud sound design would have been too much. 65 might be worth seeing for its unique setting, but the excitement will end there.