It must have seemed like a good idea on paper – box office favourite Adam Driver (HOUSE OF GUCCI; THE LAST DUEL) starring in a story by writer-directors Bryan Woods and Scott Beck (A QUIET PLACE) about an alien who crash lands on Earth and encounters menacing creatures. Unfortunately, once it got to the big screen, it was nothing more than a flaming pile of dino dung.
The movie is 65 and Driver plays Mills, a space traveller from an advanced alien civilization that lives on a far away planet that looks rather similar to ours, except it’s not. His 9-year-old daughter, Nevine (Chloe Coleman, MY SPY), is suffering from an unexplained illness and Mills decides to take on a two-year mission so that he and his wife can afford to pay for Nevine’s treatment. On its way back home, the ship is pelted by an unexpected asteroid shower, causing Mills to awaken from his cryostasis and crash land the ship on an uncharted planet. It turns out that these events took place 65 million years ago and Mills has landed on Earth. Thinking that he’s only one on board to have survived, he resigns himself to his fate but that all changes when he discovers that a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) has survived as well. Mills tells her that his handy tricorder-like device has located their escape pod atop a mountain, so together they trek to the site while battling various giant lizards, bugs, pterodactyls and T. rexes along the way. Meanwhile, a humongous asteroid is hurtling towards the planet that is expected to result in a catastrophic extinction event.
Maybe there was studio interference or maybe this script was just DOA but, whatever the reason, 65 is easily going to make it onto many critics’ worst films list of 2023. I know it will end up on mine. Hmm… where have we seen this premise before – a father figure and child negotiating a hostile terrain? Sadly, 65 is no THE MANDALORIAN or THE LAST OF US and Adam Driver is no Pedro Pascal. Like Baby Yoda, Koa is not only an orphan, she also doesn’t speak the same language as Mills so all the young actress is left to do is grunt out a few words that she learns from Mills. It doesn’t make for stimulating conversation between the two, but because Koa is roughly the same age as Nevine, the audience is supposed to sympathize with Mills as he tries to be the protector figure with Koa that he couldn’t be with his own daughter. It just doesn’t work.
Where 65 really fails though is in its seriousness. There are a fair number of people in the world who believe that aliens were the original Earthlings and this story teases that possibility for a half a second before jettisoning it into the cosmos. The fact that Mills and Koa are the aliens rather than the residents is an interesting twist but the pair barely leave their mark on Earth before the Mother of All Asteroids smashes into the planet ending the dinosaurs’ reign and bringing on, one would assume, the Ice Age. Perhaps Woods and Beck want us to assume that if aliens could come to Earth once, they could come twice and Koa’s mysterious language is something like Navajo or Quechua. Unfortunately, that’s not what this movie is about. 65 is basically an hour-and-a-half (less, if you take out the preamble) of two people trying to climb a mountain without getting eaten first. It’s so one-note. Adding to the audience’s pain are the T. rexes, whose heads and rows of teeth are the only things we see of them. This story needed to be fun but none of that is to be had here. Instead, it’s just an oppressive downer of a film.
65 opened in Hong Kong and around the world last Thursday (March 9th). You can safely skip it because it’s a dumpster fire of prehistoric proportions.
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3 thoughts on “Movie Review: 65”
I saw 65 this morning. I had no expectations of it. But I agree, it’s was a dud, but still enjoyed myself. Was it trying to be a $90 million blockbuster or an expensive B movie? If I judge it as a B movie then it was fun.
Thanks for your comment! I don’t think it was trying to be a B movie. I wish it was because then it would have been a more interesting movie.
Adam Driver is great how he chooses his roles. He is not scared to take a risk. Though it makes me wonder I’m not sure he can entirely carry a film all by himself. He is very good as a lead and in an ensemble cast.