Directors: Scott Beck and Bryan Woods
Writers: Scott Beck and Bryan Woods
Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt
Synopsis: An astronaut crash lands on a mysterious planet only to discover he’s not alone.
What makes moviegoers actually go to the theater? How much impact do directors, writers, and actors have on that decision? 65 is written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the duo responsible for writing the script for A Quiet Place. It has Adam Driver (White Noise) and Ariana Greenblatt (In the Heights) as the protagonists. It boasts a classic “disaster flick” premise wrapped in a pre-apocalyptic environment, with dinosaurs on the loose and a catastrophic asteroid about to hit the planet. Someone claiming to be a film lover and not feeling the slightest bit enthusiastic about a blockbuster that screams “pure entertainment” is strange, to say the least. The only important question here is the usual one: can 65 reach its potential, or does it get drowned by its expected formulas?
Unfortunately, 65 falls into the group of disappointments within its respective subgenre. Arguing that it delivers what it promises is “stretching the rope”, since the most basic promise was endless entertainment involving dinosaurs and survival situations, even if everything is rather illogical – watching a movie like this with the brain turned on is missing the point of the premise. But 65 doesn’t even raise those types of superficial issues. The film’s biggest crime is being so uninteresting all the way through.
Despite the short runtime, co-directors Beck and Woods can’t escape the predictability of the narrative, following all the generic development steps without even a mild surprise along the way, making the viewing slower and more monotonous. The filmmakers fail to build captivating action sequences, and the visual effects only help in the most climactic moment of the movie – the asteroid collision with Earth is one of the best in recent years. However, despite the many personal criticisms of the last two films in the Jurassic World saga, its visuals have always been absolutely breathtaking. 65‘s dinosaurs look reasonable at best.
There’s an attempt to create a redemption arc for Mills (Driver), a father far from his family who finds himself in a situation of great responsibility when he makes it his goal to save Koa (Greenblatt), a girl who doesn’t even speak the same language. The performances are dedicated, humorous and, for those who have followed them since their early displays, their effort to elevate the uninspired scripts is more than remarkable. However, Mills’ arc doesn’t explore the themes introduced by the screenplay: absent parenthood, work-life balance, loss, grief, and even faith.
65 doesn’t bother to delve into any of the topics mentioned above, but it also doesn’t contain enough action to defend that its intention was merely to entertain the audience with monsters, chases, and explosions. Honestly, it’s hard to truly understand the main objective of the film. I believe that the last few minutes will leave most audience members satisfied, especially viewers who go in exclusively in search of that one epic moment, but overall, it leaves a lot to be desired.
I might come across as a tad too harsh. 65 is far from being one of those films I’d never recommend to anyone. It’s a case of “more of the same”, but for someone who watches hundreds of movies per year, it feels uneventful. Chris Bacon’s score is quite good, and I appreciate the effort put into the overall look of the movie. For viewers who may not have the chance to visit the theater that often, I wouldn’t stop you from buying a ticket, but I would probably recommend other films from the available lineup.
65 is as unimaginative and predictable as anticipated, only even less entertaining and far more bland. Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt try their best, but apart from the fantastic ending that delivers one of the best visual executions of an asteroid colliding with a planet in recent years, there isn’t a single memorable aspect in this movie that’s part of an already packed subgenre with many stories worthy of more attention. A dinosaur flick this uninteresting should be considered a cinephilic crime.