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Home > 65 (2023): A Review

65 (2023): A Review

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Adam Driver’s Prehistoric Adventure on Planet Earth

Released on March 10th, 2023, 65 is an action science fiction film written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, famous for the well-received A Quiet Place series. The movie follows a pretty basic, easy-to-follow premise. Humans are traveling the galaxy in a science fiction setting when an interstellar accident causes one particular vessel to crash land on a hostile planet full of vicious predators and hostile terrain. Now it’s up to one particular pilot and the sole surviving child he rescued to escape the dangers of this planet, revealed to be Ancient Earth during the time of the dinosaurs, before the inevitable asteroid triggers the K/T extinction event.

What The Movie Got Right & Where it Falls Flat

65 is pretty good at creating tense set pieces in which the creatures attack the two pivotal characters. The fact that most parts of the film are in complete darkness with few light sources makes the tension of traveling in caves or dark forests pretty good. The reactions to the threats in the world are well done and there is a decent escalation of danger as large and more imposing creatures start to appear.

That being said, there are several things the movie falls flat on. In particular, the “dinosaurs” are hardly even close to actual dinosaurs in the time period. There are tyrannosaurs that look pretty close to the rexes Kong fought in the Peter Jackson remake. There are also significantly feathered raptors that appear as a threat though the plumage is not presented accurately. Aside from them, more than half the creatures present in the film are purely fictional with traits, appearances, and even movement based on nothing discovered on the fossil record. For paleo enthusiasts and overall dinosaur enjoyers, this is a pretty big negative.

Central Focus on a Basic Plot

The main characters of this adventure are the pilot Mills, portrayed by Adam Driver, and a young girl named Koa who is portrayed by Ariana Greenblatt. Together their journey consists of surviving hazards as well as finding a way off the planet until the meteor collision course. That’s more or less it. No other humans appear and all the other crew members of the ship die in the impact.

Because there are no other humans, Mills and Koa are essentially the focus and their moments of danger tend to pass with them being safe or overcoming the threat. For most films in this genre, this is a change of pace since the main characters are always going to be fine and there are no moments where the safety of the characters is questioned. Since there isn’t a sense of dread the threats of the dinosaurs are treated more like a temporary inconvenience that either runs away or gets shot dead.

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Can Scientific Inaccuracy be Forgiven for This Type of Film?

What has been brought up multiple times with this film, online and in articles, is the portrayal and overall look of the prehistoric creatures, from dinosaurs to other anonymous creatures. 65 is meant to take place on Earth 65 million years ago. For some folks, there’s an expectation that a Hollywood film based on this premise would make an attempt to emulate the prehistoric ecosystem currently known by paleontologists. Not even Jurassic World was able to do that in the prologue scene.

That said, there have been movies for decades that don’t follow the science of dinosaurs, from mixing species that never would’ve met to having them look and do things they weren’t adapted to do. In most ways, the creatures presented here seem to be a throwback to the Ray Harryhausen monster stop-motion creatures along with the practice of having real lizards portray prehistoric animals with props. It’s an accepted reality that, for entertainment and thrills, dinosaurs are generalized placeholders for monsters and dragons. That said, out of all the dinosaur films that show how dangerous and violent planet Earth was in the Mesozoic era, this one took the prehistoric cake.

What The Film Could Have Been.

65 was a decent sci-fi thriller brought down by a basic premise and a story that’s literally carried by the main actor Adam Driver. Outside of that, the film doesn’t have much besides being chased by a dinosaur through a forest, a cave, and a geyser field. What’s really missed is how this film could’ve been a chance to portray dinosaurs differently. Life on Earth was far more complex and the movie could’ve had a scene of levity where Mills and Koa could’ve bonded over dinosaur herds traveling or grazing herbivores. Even having carnivores wander around that wouldn’t eat something they don’t recognize as food would have brought tension when one does get interested in hunting them. 

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Alas, this is the film we have and the action plus story isn’t enough for a full recommendation. There have been other films that did this premise better from long ago, including Plant of Dinosaurs, Primal, and When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth.

65 (2023) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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An enthusiast of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I loved reading about the stories and worlds of video games and movies and writing on a multitude of subjects, from lists to reviews.