65 Is a Disappointing Dino Adventure

Everybody loves dinosaurs. They’re some of the coolest creatures to ever walk the earth, so it’s no surprise that they make for some of the best creature features of all time. Whether they’re (relatively) realistic like Jurassic Park or a bit more fantastical like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, dinosaur movies are almost always a good time, so naturally, I was really excited for 65. Not only was the premise right up my alley, but the trailer looked really good too. I marked my calendar for opening night and bought a ticket as soon as I could, and after finally getting the chance to see it, I’m sad to say it didn’t at all live up to my expectations.

65 was written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, and it stars Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman and Nika King. Plotwise, it’s not quite what I was expecting. The marketing seemed to imply that the film would be a somewhat Planet of the Apes-esque time travel story about a guy who heads off to outer space and finds that he’s actually gone back in time 65 million years, but that’s not what happens.

Instead, the movie is set entirely in the past, and it’s about a group of alien explorers (who happen to look exactly like modern humans) who go out into space and crash land on a mysterious planet that ends up being earth. Only two people survive the wreck, the pilot Mills and a little girl named Koa, and to get back home, they have to traverse the unknown terrain and make their way to an escape vessel. Along their journey, they encounter a bunch of prehistoric dangers, including numerous very hungry dinosaurs, so their chances of survival seem very slim.

A man walking by dinosaur bones

On paper, that sounds like an amazing idea for a movie, but unfortunately, the execution isn’t nearly up to par. Most notably, the two main characters are so underdeveloped that I just couldn’t bring myself to care one lick about them. Let’s start with Mills. 65 begins with him and his family on their home planet, and we learn that he’s going to set out on a space exploration mission to help pay for the treatment his sick daughter desperately needs.

Again, on paper, that sounds like it could be interesting, but we never learn anything about these people other than the bare bones of their situation. We only spend a couple of minutes with Mills’s wife and daughter before the guy heads out into space, so we never really get to connect with them. We never truly see how much Mills and his family love each other, so when he crash-lands on earth, the prospect of never seeing his wife and daughter again just doesn’t have any emotional weight for us.

To be fair, 65 does try to make up for that deficiency by showing us flashbacks and snippets of messages Mills’s daughter sent him, but they don’t really work. Those moments didn’t bring me any closer to these characters, so I never felt any connection to Mills or his family, and I never cared what happened to the guy during his time on earth.

And when we turn to Koa, things get even worse. The only thing we know about her is that her parents both died when the ship crashed, but beyond that, we get literally zero information about the girl. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, 65 shoots itself in the foot by making her speak a different language (I couldn’t tell if it was a real language or one made up for this movie), so even if she did try to tell Mills more about herself, I have no idea what she said.

A girl looking serious

Again, that lack of development made it impossible for me to connect with Koa on any level, so just like with Mills, I simply didn’t care what happened to her. In fact, whenever these characters were in danger, part of me almost wanted them to die just so the film could be over. I was that apathetic towards them, so naturally, the dino action fell pretty flat for me.

And that’s a shame because objectively, it’s actually executed pretty well. There are a bunch of scenes where the directors do a good job of building the tension and then releasing it with some cool dinosaur attacks, but since I didn’t care about the characters, I was never able to get into the action. It just felt like visual noise, so I simply couldn’t enjoy it.

The only part I really liked was the last 10 minutes when Mills and Koa come face to face with a large, somewhat T-Rex-esque kind of dinosaur that feels a bit like a kaiju, but that’s just because I’m a huge kaiju fanatic. I can enjoy almost anything if it has a giant monster, so of course I liked this part of the movie.

But aside from that one scene, the rest of 65 was really lackluster and boring, so I’m sad to say that I wouldn’t recommend it. Sure, if you think you’d enjoy a film like this despite the weak characters, you’ll probably enjoy the dino action enough to make it worth your time. But if you need even a tiny bit more substance to go along with your thrills, you probably won’t get much out of this movie, so if you’re looking for some good new horror to watch, I suggest steering clear of 65 and checking out something else instead.

65 is playing in theaters right now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

Beetlejuice, played by Michael Keaton, sitting on a house with Barbara Maitland, played by Geena Davis, on the left, and holding the head of Adam Maitland, played by Alec Baldwin, on the right, with the headless Adam standing on the right.

Beetlejuice 2 Is Moving Forward, and Jenna Ortega Is Eyeing a Role in It!

The cover of Soft Targets

Soft Targets Is Gripping Psychological Horror