A subgenre's at risk of going extinct if "65" is any indicator.
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I was kinda hype for “65” (now in theaters) after seeing its trailer. I adored “A Quiet Place,” for which “65” writing/directing duo Scott Beck and Bryan Woods penned the screenplay. I dig Adam Driver as an actor. I dig dinosaurs in movies. I definitely dug the idea of Driver’s character fighting dinos with a boss laser blaster. Sam Raimi produced the damned thing! Unfortunately, these varied elements don’t add up to a cool and cohesive whole.
Driver stars as Mills, an alien pilot who’s agreed to tackle a two-year space mission that will separate him from his wife (Nika King, “Euphoria”) and ailing daughter Nevine (Chloe Coleman – a good, little actress who made quite the impression in “Gunpowder Milkshake” and “Marry Me”) in order to afford the girl’s treatment.
Mills’ ship gets struck by an asteroid fragment and he crash lands on a planet that turns out to be Earth … 65 million years ago. The bulk of his cargo, i.e. people, perished in the crash save for a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt, she played Young Gamora in “Avengers: Infinity War”). It’s up to Mills to traverse the hostile landscape and protect himself and Koa from Earth’s native inhabitants … dinosaurs. They must scale a mountain to access a working escape pod before a noted cataclysmic event occurs.
“65” is only 93 minutes long … it feels longer. It’s a simple story told simply … too simply. I suspect there’s a longer, R-rated cut of this movie that better develops its characters and narrative somewhere out there in the ether. This needed more dinosaurs, more personality, more tension, more violence, more … everything. The dinosaurs we get also should’ve been rendered better … the dinos from “Jurassic Park” back in 1993 were far more convincing.
I suspect Driver is incapable of being anything less than watchable, but this is definitely lesser work from him. Your enjoyment of the film will largely depend upon how much you enjoy watching the Mishawaka, Ind.-native get injured on film. Homie’s incessantly falling off and down shit here and repeatedly jacks his shoulder up, which he pops back into socket à la Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs from the “Lethal Weapon” flicks.
It’s telling that the element of the film I most responded to was Mills’ gadgets and gizmos. His blaster is rad. He’s got dope little grenades. Hell, even his canteen is cool. Production designer Kevin Ishioka, art directors Chris Craine, Kelly Curley and David Storm and the rest of the art department deserve a lot of credit. Their craftsmanship stood out amidst this sea of boredom.
A lot of folks complained about the locust-centric “Jurassic World: Dominion” from last year. I liked that flick almost twice as well as this one. Methinks this subgenre may be headed towards extinction.