Released in theaters on March 10, “65” boasts a unique premise. Despite dinosaurs’ popularity, it’s rare to see a dinosaur movie that isn’t part of the “Jurassic Park” franchise. Changing things up, “65” pits humans with futuristic technology against Earth’s prehistoric monsters.
The movie begins in an unspecified date in the future. Quickly establishing the motivation of the protagonist Mills, played by Adam Driver, viewers learn he is about to embark on a two-year journey transporting people across space. He reluctantly chose the job because the pay will hopefully make possible a life-saving operation for his daughter. His daughter regrets that he must leave because of her, but Mills insists “it’s not because of you, it’s for you.”
With this simple but meaningful mission established, “65” wastes little time setting the story in motion. Mills’ ship is hit by an uncharted asteroid field, forcing him to crash-land on a nearby planet.
Mills finds the only other survivor, a girl just a bit younger than his own daughter, named Koa, played by Ariana Greenblatt. The pair must make a 15-kilometer trek to an escape pod that broke off during the crash, which is their only hope to return home.
It becomes clear that somehow, the characters are on Earth 65 million years ago. Despite being a sci-fi movie, “65” focuses only on the action and character beats of the story, spending no time trying to explain how the characters got here. There is no time travel established, and in an interview, Driver mentioned something vague about parallel universes, but no explanation is given in the film.
Made by the writers of “A Quiet Place,” “65” is a straightforward and engaging thriller with meaningful character interactions. The language barrier between the two protagonists creates an interesting dynamic where Mills sometimes struggles to break hard truths to Koa.
The movie builds suspense after the crash, making the audience wait to see the first dinosaur for some time. This makes each reveal more impactful.
“65” does struggle in a few ways. The slow and tense scenes in the first half of the movie make the 93-minute runtime feel much longer. This is resolved toward the climax, as an extinction-causing asteroid heading for the planet creates a ticking clock for the characters.
The fact Mills is equipped with futuristic technology means that fights sometimes feel quite easy, but scenes where he loses his weapons or can’t find Koa are still quite tense.
The movie is also certainly not complex. Do not go into this film expecting lots of twists and turns. This is an uncomplicated story about a father trying to keep a little girl alive and get her home safe.
Those in search of an action-packed and relatively meaningful movie should watch “65” while it’s still in theaters.