65: The only thing that works in the film is the 93 mins runtime
Poster of the movie 65
  • Release Date: – 10/03/2023
  • Cast: – Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman
  • Director: – Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

65 is produced by the great Sam Raimi. It is directed by the duo of Scott Beck and Bryan Wood who previously wrote the absolutely brilliant A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part 2. The film stars Adam Driver who is one of my favourite Hollywood actors of recent times. 65 was promoted to have widescale dinosaur mayhem that would match the best films of the genre. If that is not enough to get someone to the theatres to see this film then I don’t know what is. Shockingly though, therein lies the biggest rub of this film because once you are in, you will realize that you made a huge mistake and have walked into a film that was made with the kind of budget that was not enough to pull off the vision and the plot that the film sets out to works with.

The plot of the film seems interesting on paper. Mills (Adam Driver) belongs to a different planet and is recruited to take explorers on a 2-year long exploratory voyage. Mills wants to get his daughter treated for a life-threatening condition that looks and feels like asthma. While on the voyage, his ship is hit by a meteor shower and crash lands on earth during the Jurassic period. All the explorers onboard the ship are killed and Mills ends up with Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), the only survivor whose parents are dead and who doesn’t speak Mills’ language. It is now up to him to travel 15 km on foot to reach the other broken portion of the ship, use the escape pod and make their way out of a planet where something is lurking in the shadows to kill them at every step.

While most of these ideas feel like something we have heard or seen executed better in some other Hollywood film, they could have been gelled together and presented interestingly to result in a film that was at least entertaining in a Ronald Emmerich sort of a way. When I was watching this film, it felt like it was deeply influenced by M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth— a huge disaster in itself, and a gamut of disaster films directed by Emmerich with scene picked up and plugged in from every foreseeable film involving dinosaurs or creatures who look and feel similar to dinosaurs. Thus, the film constantly gave me a sense of déjà vu, and not in a good way.

The makers don’t even try to make Mills’ alien planet feel different or have its own distinctive character traits and topography. They are so lazy in creating this alien world that you will never think of it as anything other than earth and this creates a huge problem for the film’s believability and more so for its suspension of disbelief. The character of Adam Driver is called Mills. This is just unacceptable. They didn’t even take the trouble of thinking of a name that sounded a little out of the planet and you see a similar kind of attention to detail and inclination to sell the fact that Mills is an alien through the rest of the film. The film doesn’t have any setup for the character and the place that he comes from apart from a few written lines. This setup was necessary and absolutely critical as this was supposed to be the base on which the rest of the film stood firm. Sadly, it is glossed over with little to no attention. 

Once Mills and Koa land on earth, the film had its opportunities to lure the audiences into the narrative but the path that the directors take to the storytelling is so done to death and the lack of budget is so evident that I was almost instantaneously out of the experience. The film shows the dinosaurs in brief glimpses and then cuts away to something unimportant. We are left to assume that the characters made it out of those predicaments unharmed even though we haven’t seen them make their way out of it. The editing in these sequences is so pathetic that I couldn’t believe that I was watching a mainstream Hollywood film. Even I wouldn’t make such mistakes and would ensure that the storytelling propagated seamlessly from one sequence to another through a visual telling of what was happening. Even if I couldn’t show the dinosaurs, I would at least ensure that the sequence was designed and executed in such a manner that the suspension of disbelief was guaranteed.

The creature designs are all over the place and I really don’t know what the designers were thinking when they were making these laughably bad dinosaur-other animal hybrids in their effort to make the creatures creepy and scary. The dinosaurs needed to be present a whole lot more to have any impact whatsoever. Another problem is that we have seen better films than this involving the same creatures with better visual effects and a much larger scale. To have a film like this even made with the kind of storytelling and execution that we get here is criminal and should be condemned with the strongest words possible. The makers use every possible ploy to save money and cut short the VFX budget and it is so obnoxiously obvious that it not only mars the believability of the film but also makes the proceedings hilarious.   

The only saving grace for the film is the performances of Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt. When these two are interacting are the only times when the audience’s attention is diverted from the many inconsistencies, lacklustre visuals, and a complete lack of realism and logic in the story. Driver acts better than this film deserved and was as always in his elements emoting in his trademark manner but in a way that worked for this film. He was able to sell the mental state of the character and was able to make us empathize with the character. This at least led to the audience being marginally interested in what became of him by the end of the film.

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Ariana Greenblatt is surprisingly good. She doesn’t speak the language that Driver understands in the film and hence she has to convey her emotions through her expressions and mannerisms alone. She was able to pull this off successfully. If this was a better film, her performances would be applauded a whole lot more.

There is absolutely no reason to go see 65. It is an outrageous concept that is executed in a manner that makes you feel that the makers of the film were not interested to make it and created it because someone was holding a gun to their heads. The only thing that worked in the film was its 93 minutes runtime which ensured that the audience’s misery was short-lived.   

Rating: 1/5 (1 out of 5 Stars)

The views expressed in this article are that of the reviewer and do not reflect EastMojo’s position.

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