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’65’ review: Adam Driver is lost in space

By March 13, 2023No Comments4 min read

The writers of ‘A Quiet Place’ rehash plenty of fun ideas, but ’65’ goes nowhere with its bland, hollow script.



There are only so many new concepts you can come up with for a movie, so there’s nothing terribly wrong with stealing some ideas. Why waste a perfectly good premise of a masked brute stalking teenagers in the dead of night on just one Halloween picture? Who says people only want to see song and dance on the big screen in just Singin’ in the Rain and nothing else? We can only make one Star Wars movie and then be done with science-fiction forever? Movies are often a melting pot of different ideas mixed together into a stew that pleases as many moviegoers as possible. But you can throw all the enticing ingredients you want into the pot and it won’t make a hearty stew if they’re all not cooked right.

There’s a lot in the broth of 65, which is surprising given the core premise of this 93-minute adventure from Sony. Mills (Adam Driver) is an intergalactic pilot transporting people in cryosleep when his ship crash lands on a mysterious planet. He rescues a small girl (Ariana Greenblatt) from her pod and has to trek through the unknown wilderness to the escape vessel of his crashed ship stuck on a far-away mountain range. As the duo hike through the vast woodlands and tall mountains, they learn they’re intruding on the planet’s lone inhabitants: dinosaurs!

There are plenty of smaller elements diced-up for the 65 stew, but the key ingredients include M. Night Shyamalan’s lost-planet survival drama After Earth and the escape from dino fury of Jurassic Park. Those are two solid premises to merge into one, but writer/director Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place) also throw in a surrogate father-daughter journey similar to the X-Men spinoff Logan and the claustrophobic horror of The Descent. There’s even sprinklings of the audio-backed jump scares from Beck and Woods’s calling card. Point is, there are so many pieces of good movies (Shyamalan inclusion aside) in 65 that it’s baffling none of them come together for a home run blockbuster, not even in the style of schlocky B-movie ripoffs of better titles, like Romancing the Stone to Indiana Jones or Friday the 13th to Halloween.

The main problem is the movie’s 93-minute runtime, which you’d think means Beck and Woods made a lean thriller that cuts out all the fat of its inspirations. Instead, 65 feels incredibly rushed with underdeveloped characters and boring story beats. There’s little to no time afforded to let Mills feel the dread of being marooned on a foreign planet, or fight the fear of creepy creatures that keep popping up while he runs through the jungle (or random forests in Oregon, in this case). The “bond” he’s supposed to establish with his young cryo-companion is more obligatory than genuine, despite Driver trying his hardest to muster up some fatherly charm.

As talented as he is, the former Kylo Ren looks awkward and directionless in nearly every scene because the script and the directors don’t give him time to make the audience feel the stakes of the movie. Greenblatt can’t help much, stuck with a weird alien language and constant looks of concern that don’t gel with Driver through their journey. Even all that emotional vacantness aside, 65 can’t even muster the energy to be a goofy action movie as Driver awkwardly points a flashlight and a pithy space gun in random directions while lame dinosaur designs chase him through the trees. There’s no moment where Driver runs out of space tech and has to use the elements around him to survive, or a scene where he’s critically injured and has to trust his young companion to do something truly daunting in their journey, or not even one darn extinction pun as he knocks-off dinos. Literally ANYTHING that could give this movie some kind of spark is gone and given the possibilities from its premise, it makes 65 as frustrating as it is boring.

The experience of watching 65 is like a sci-fi thriller described via PowerPoint presentation: all the fun parts of a movie are laid out like flat slides with bullet points describing each scene. It’s perfunctory filmmaking at its most boring with everyone in front of and behind the camera wanting to just get this over with. Producers and writers can get away with ripping off other movie ideas as long as they’re inspired to do something new or creative with those concepts. Anything less is just lazy regurgitation no matter how many dinosaurs you throw in the background.

’65’ is now playing in theaters. Watch the trailer below.

Featured Image Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment/Patti Perret. 

  • 65 - 2.5/10
Jon Winkler

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