Adam Driver is a rising star who has already been nominated for an Academy Award twice. He has worked with Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee and Ridley Scott. His name is probably thrown into the mix anytime someone has a film project that requires a modern type leading man. So it is no surprise that he would be cast in this science fiction mashup that relies on the central character to hold a film together. The surprise is that he can’t quite do it alone. As almost everyone in the film business will tell you, the script is where it all starts. Casting can cover a lot of issues but it can’t replace a good script.
“65” is a simple adventure story, with two concepts powering it. First, it takes place in the past, although a futuristic past for planet Earth. Second, it is a parental redemption vehicle that wills us to identify with a grieving father as a surrogate, who is thrust into a circumstance to force him into action. Unfortunately, in spite of these fairly strong ideas, the script does nothing original for them. A stranded space jockey has to navigate a treacherous environment, to save himself and a young girl. That’s it, that is the entire depth of the story. Except for the fact they the two speak different languages, there are no dramatic twists, no memorable sequences of humor or developing warmth, all there is is the next action beat.
When you are running away from dinosaurs, that should be plenty interesting for those only seeking an action film. There are a couple of sequences where it works, the best one is in an undergrounds series of crevices’ which allow some darkness and claustrophobia to enhance the moments, but mostly we get jump scares and cliches. The journey the two survivors of the crash are undertaking is relatively short, and it is to get to an escape vehicle that somehow managed to remain functional after the crash and the severe abuse it goes through at the climax of the picture. The script adds a ticking countdown by turning this into another mashup, this time between Jurassic Park and Armageddon.
The budget was sufficient to make the dinosaurs look real and the space craft to looks functional. There are little pieces of technology in the story but nothing that we have not seen before. The weapons are derivative of a hundred other space operas and keep everything on a simple level. The prehistoric environment is the closest thing that the story comes up with that adds anything to the drama. Tar pits and geysers are about as creative as it gets. Those things make the journey only slightly more interesting, but I’m not sure there is a big improvement over the same concepts in films like “The Lost World”, “At the Earth’s Core”, and “The Land that Time Forgot”.
If you are not too discriminating, you can get 90 minutes of mild entertainment out of “65”. You can also get the same amount of entertainment out of watching a couple of episodes of “CSI” or “Law and Order”. They are perfectly fine, but not something you would leave the house for. That’s the same for this movie. Why would you leave the house for this? I can’t give you an answer except that the popcorn at the theater is probably better than what you can make at home.