More like dino-snore: a review of 65

Photo by: Charlie Martin

Rating: 1/5

65 feels like an arcade rail shooter that has been put to the big screen. As any younger sibling would know, these games are fun to play, but not to watch.

The movie follows Mills (Adam Driver), an alien pilot who crash lands on Earth during the age of the dinosaurs. He is accompanied by Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), the sole surviving passenger who does not speak his language. With the ship damaged in the crash, their only way back home is to trek to the mountain where the escape pod landed.

The main draw of the film should be its action scenes, but these fall flat. The majority of them pit the dinosaurs against Mills, who has a gun with infinite laser ammo and over a dozen grenades. Most of the conflicts go the way you’d expect: he shoots the dinosaurs and they die. It isn’t until the end that these encounters start getting interesting, such as when Mills and Koa are separated, but even here the action was a bit dull. This is in large part due to the threat the dinosaurs pose; or rather, the lack thereof. 

Mills’ weaponry puts him at a pretty significant advantage in most encounters, but even past that, the dinosaurs are just bad hunters. The few times a dinosaur gets within attack range of either Mills or Koa, they attempt to drag them away rather than get a lethal bite in. This gives Mills plenty of time to rectify his mistakes and makes the dinosaurs feel incompetent; it’s not a stretch to say that the insects pose a bigger threat to the protagonists than the dinosaurs do.

The dinosaurs in general are odd. While most depictions of dinosaurs either use familiar reptilian designs or scientifically accurate avian designs, 65 uses new, even more reptilian designs. It seems that the creators made their own dinosaur species for this movie, though they look more like lizards with their sprawled, quadrupedal legs. Additionally, every species either has the bulky head of a T. rex or a slim head like a raptor, preventing any of them from standing out from each other.

So, the action is weak, and the dinosaurs are barely dinosaurs. Maybe the characters are interesting? Nope, 65 falls flat here too. The language barrier between Koa and Mills prevents them from connecting much, and yet most of the pivotal moments between them are when Mills talks to her. Despite Koa not understanding a word he says, this seems to get her on board with his plans, which seemed like a cheap way to resolve their misunderstandings.

Additionally, since the audience also can’t understand Koa, it’s hard to be invested in her as a character. This is especially a problem since she spends most of her time on screen as a helpless civilian for Mills to escort through the wilderness. When she starts hampering his ability to survive, such as when she gets dragged off by dinosaurs or eats berries he tells her not to, it’s hard not to get annoyed at her, even if those things aren’t her fault. If these characters could have formed a connection this issue would be fixed, but their lack of communication prevents that from happening.

Between the limp action, unappealing monsters and milquetoast characters, there’s not much interesting in this movie. The best thing that can be said about it is that it’s quite short with a runtime of 89 minutes — so at least it won’t waste much of your time.

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