Review | ‘65’ is 90 minutes of wasted potential


Image via Sony Pictures

“65” movie poster.

By Nada Abdulaziz, Staff Writer

In their newest sci-fi thriller, co-writers and directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods attempt to create a heartfelt storyline with dinosaurs and thrill 一 but somehow leave behind dialogue, purpose and an actual plot. 

The story opens with a space pilot, Mills (Adam Driver), convincing his wife, Alya (Nika King), to take part in a two-year space mission so they can earn money to treat their daughter Nevine’s (Chloe Coleman) illness. The expedition begins, and some unknown time later, Mills crashes into an unknown planet, which the film immediately clarifies to viewers is Earth 65 million years ago — when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Mills’ mission was to transport passengers to some unclarified destination, all of whom died during the crash, except for one child. The young girl, Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), is the same age as Mill’s daughter and is the only person left for Mills to interact with. 

Mills attempts to care for and protect Koa but struggles due to a linguistic communication barrier. Mills then realizes that the crash caused his ship to split in half. In one side of the ship, which is miles away from him and Koa, is a functioning escape shuttle which he must make his way to to escape an Earth full of dinosaurs. This discovery sets the stage for the journey the two characters experience over the course of the film. 

Only 20 minutes into the film, viewers are confused and unsure of when, where and why the events of the film are happening. Mills’ responsibility for the expedition is to transport passengers, including Koa, who are all in cryogenic sleep — a technique far too advanced for the events of the film to be in the current 21st century. Where Mills is originally from and what the identity is of the passengers is an unaddressed and unsolvable mystery. Furthermore, the language barrier between Koa and Mills is a useless addition to the film that creates a lack of dialogue and leaves many questions unanswered about who Koa is and why she can’t speak in the same language.

With no dialogue or clear communication, Koa and Mills commence their journey towards the functioning escape shuttle. Naturally, they are faced with the antagonist of the film — dinosaurs. The appearance of the dinosaurs in the film is the most appealing part of the 90 minute thriller.

“65” has a reported budget of $91 million, and it’s clear that a huge chunk of the money went towards creating the dinosaurs. The marketing of the film placed great focus on the fact that the crash left Mills and Koa on Earth 65 million years ago, just before the extinction of the dinosaurs due to an asteroid impact during the Cretaceous Era. Many viewers expected a realistic representation of dinosaurs with minute details, especially with the generous budget, but the film instead serves a collection of unrealistic beasts that are nothing but vicious. The film’s entire purpose is to dig deep into life on Earth 65 million years ago, a purpose that unfortunately is not fulfilled. To give credit where it’s due, the dinosaurs in the film have cool teeth and look horrifying. 

The main saving graces of the film are Driver and Greenblatt. The undeniable father-daughter chemistry between Mills and Koa is all thanks to the talent of Driver and Greenblatt, who both manage to bring life to their one-dimensional characters. Driver, a Golden Globe nominated actor, shows great passion and dedication to his role as Mills, especially when he protects Koa as though she’s his own daughter. Despite the lack of understanding Mills’ character and identity, Driver manages to play the role of a protective father risking his own life as he fights dinosaurs away from young Koa. 

At just 15 years old, Greenblatt shines on screen as an innocent Koa who is left alone with a complete stranger. Her main role in the film is primarily to remind Mills of his daughter, something which Greenblatt manages to successfully convey through her display of confusion, fear, innocence and warmth despite the lack of character development she’s given. 

Without spoiling too much, viewers will note that the end of the film is underwhelming and simply disappointing. After a considerable amount of the film focusing on intense survival scenes and excellent fights put up by Mills and Koa, viewers receive a bland and predictable ending which wastes a potentially satisfying ending for the characters. 

“65” isn’t by any means a bad movie – it plainly leaves the viewer wanting something more every second of the film. The lack of dialogue between the characters and the collection of predictable scenes lead to an unoriginal film with so much wasted potential. The journey of the characters is ultimately a mid version of “Lord of the Rings” without a purpose and with angry dinosaurs every two minutes.