Two human-like humanoids crash-landed on Earth 65 million years ago. And … so?
Mills’ transport vessel encounters a meteor storm and crashlands on an uncharted planet—a lush one full of savage dinosaurs. The only other survivor from the crash is a young girl whom Mills is unable to speak to as he can’t understand her language. To flee the planet, the duo must locate the escape craft that has broken off from their vessel during the crash, a task made urgent by a certain impending catastrophe looming in the skies.
65 was released this week and so far, it has not enjoyed love from critics and audiences alike. On that, I’d say that it’s easy to identify what didn’t work in the movie. And it is all quite a pity.
To be clear, this Jurassic Park-like survival horror cum flick is not a bad movie per se, and in the spirit of fairness, I’ll first mention the good things going for it
Other than the unusual premise which is such an intriguing hook, I feel the best part of the show has to be Adam Driver’s Mills. A weary man who isn’t your usual battle-hardened apocalyptic survivor but a broken dad teetering on the edge.
Mills still does things few of us are capable of when facing off the dinos but outside of these moments, we consistently see him more inclined to give up than fight on, even when pressed by the obstinate Koa, so excellently played by Ariana Greenblatt. While this fragility ultimately ended up adding little more than fluff to the story, I think it’s still a refreshing change in a cinematic world where machismo is still in abundant overkill.
There are, of course, also the jump scares, the sinister camerawork, and the claustrophobia cavern sequences. A little old fashion and old-style, but I’d be lying if I say they didn’t work on me. Or that I didn’t like those moments.
But in the end, 65 ends up in the tar pits because it is simply too compressed, too episodic, and too unemotional. The all-important “road trip” to the escape vessel is no The Last of Us saga, there are few involving moments. The whole escape is really no more than a series of compartmentalized horrors, perhaps thrilling to watch individually, but dreary if you attempt to derive any deeper story.
The surrogate father and daughter connection between Mills and Koa never takes flight too, and you end up deducing that relationship rather than feeling it. Not that the show didn’t attempt to illustrate this developing bond, but efforts were brief and lacklustre, ultimately, never venturing into meaningful grounds.
And then there’s the whole “Earth 65 million years ago” premise.
Two things about that. First, many online synopses are downright wrong. The movie informs you that the dino-infested planet is Earth but Mills did not figure that out, because he’s from another planet and “Earth: the home of humans” isn’t a thing yet? Second, once the adventure starts, the entire “two being visited us millions of years ago” story is promptly forgotten.
In other words, whether Mills and Koa did land on our Earth, or not, makes no difference. You’re going to be sorely disappointed if you expect these visitors to impact future humanity in any way. (I was) The duo could have been on some forgotten Sith world and it wouldn’t make a difference.
On another note, I’ve read that 65 was badly affected by COVID—it was filmed during the pandemic’s worst. This somewhat explains why the movie is at 93 minutes, an unusually terse length for a story of this nature.
Not sure what’s the proper response to that too beyond: the plotting could have still been better. That so much more could have been done with capable anchors like Driver and Greenblatt.
But perhaps it was all wrong from the start. I mean, visitors to our world millions of years ago. How could the story develop without ending up cheesy or absurd?
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