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’65’ Review: Adam Driver Fights Dinosaurs in an Underwhelming Sci-Fi Actioner



Spoiler alert: Dinosaurs and humans did not exist on Earth at the same time. This presents a problem for filmmakers looking to make a dinosaur movie with human/dino interaction, at least in terms of historical accuracy. One option is to ignore reality entirely, as One Million Years BC. did Another is to bring dinosaurs back to life, a la Jurassic Park and its many sequels. Or, you could have the characters go back in time, which is the solution delivered by the directing-screenwriting team of Scott Beck and Bryan Wood with 65in which Adam Driver plays an astronaut from another planet who crashes on this planet 65 million years ago.

Or maybe the other planet also existed 65 million years ago, which would account for a key plot element. Driver’s character, Mills, has to undergo the grueling two-year space mission to pay for medical care for his daughter (Chloe Coleman), who’s suffering from a grievous medical condition. It seems we’re not the only planet lacking universal health care.


The Bottom Line

A middling throwback creature feature.

Release date: Friday, March 10
Cast: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman, Nika King
Directors-screenwriters: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Rated PG-13, 1 hour 33 minutes

In any case, said mission goes awry because of a nasty asteroid storm that causes the ship to crash on Earth, the only other survivor being Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), a little girl who doesn’t understand English and is understandably shaken up by the experience. Especially since not long after the crash, the pair find themselves in a strange world populated by an array of dinosaurs who all seem to be very hungry and very, very cranky.

The filmmakers, who previously collaborated with John Krasinski on the screenplay for the first A Quiet Place film, clearly love dinosaurs and nasty alien creatures in general. The same could be said of Sam Raimi, one of the producers. That childlike enthusiasm permeates every frame of 65which plays like something you might have seen at a drive-in decades ago on a double-bill The Valley of Gwangi or When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.

Unfortunately, Hollywood has raised the stakes mightily since then, so what could have been a perfectly viable B-picture back in the day now just seems rather low-rent compared with the sci-fi blockbusters of recent years. (After all, how are you gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Jurassic World?) Although 65 does boast the novelty of Driver blazing away at the dinos with cool high-tech weaponry, the sort that Jeff Goldblum would no doubt have appreciated having.

But the gimmick wears thin quickly. Most of the running time consists of scenes in which the two characters run into one or more screaming dinos before they manage to shoot or blast them into oblivion. Rinse and repeat. When Driver’s character almost perishes by falling into quicksand, it practically feels like a palate cleanser. The special effects are fine, but aren’t likely to cause Steven Spielberg to lose any sleep.

Nor is the dialogue particularly scintillating, since it mainly consists of Mills speaking a few words and Koa repeating them quizzically. (She does, however, immediately grasp his meaning when he shouts, “Run!”). Nevertheless, the relationship between the two does generate some warmth, with Koa serving as a substitute daughter who rouses Mills’ protective paternal instincts. Before the story concludes, the feisty little girl holds her own, saving his bacon more than once. Unfortunately, the pair’s dynamic also calls to mind the current HBO series The Last of Usand doesn’t benefit from the comparison.

Making an atypical foray into commercial film territory (the Star Wars films being a notable exception), Driver proves a formidable action movie hero, his imposing physicality (and, perhaps, his former experience as a Marine) serving him well here. And Coleman, who has some experience playing opposite big tough guys thanks to her co-starring with Dave Bautista My Spyhandles the physically and emotionally demanding aspects of her role like a pro.

Full credits

Production Company: Bron Creative, Beck Woods, Columbia Pictures, Raimi Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Cast: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman, Nika King
Directors-screenwriters: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Producers: Sam Raimi, Deborah Liebling, Zainab Azizi, Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Executive producers: Maryann Brandon, Doug Merrifield, Jason Cloth, Aaron L. Gilbert
Director of photography: Salvatore Totino
Production designer: Kevin Ishioka
Editors: Jane Tones, Josh Schaeffer
Costume designer: Michael Kaplan
Composer: Chris Bacon
Casting: Nancy Nayor

Rated PG-13, 1 hour 33 minutes

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