’65’ Review – A Barebones Sci-Fi Outing Heavy On Worldbuilding And Family Themes

Mills (Adam Driver) is taken by surprise in 65 (2023), Sony Pictures
Mills (Adam Driver) is taken by surprise in 65 (2023), Sony Pictures

One of the toughest things for modern Hollywood to do is market a movie that isn’t already part of an established franchise.

Adam Driver stars in 65.

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Franchises and sequels are easy to market and promote because, thanks to previous entries, the hard work of endearing characters and worlds to audiences has been taken care of long before a new product has been put into production.

But when you have a fresh and original idea, the work is not only difficult but also massively handicapped by lazy marketing executives who aren’t really qualified for their jobs, as they struggle to answer one simple question: ‘Why should audiences be interested in the first place?’

Adam Driver stars in 65.

There’s been a lot of hype regarding the latest film from Sony entitled 65. A dinosaur movie with futuristic technology leads to a lot of interesting questions, but the film’s producers may not have had the best answers.

Putting a twist on the idea of a ‘prehistoric Earth’, 65 opens with a small, technology advanced space colony being caught in a meteor shower and subsequently smashing into a mysterious and uncharted planet.

Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt stars in 65.

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Mills, played by Adam Driver, believes himself to be the sole survivor of the crash, and as such, sets out to explore his unknown surroundings and the very dangerous wildlife therein.

Ready to give up, Mills suddenly discovers that there’s one survivor of the crash, a teenage girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt). With a newfound reason for survival, Mills attempts to search the planet for an escape pod that will allow them the opportunity to leave the planet and return from whence they came.

Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt star in 65.

While the planet is inhabitable for humans, it is filled with apex predators in the form of dinosaurs, and our duo only have a handful of tools with which to protect themselves.

And to make things worse, Mills and Koa’s race to escape soon finds itself imposed with a time limit when it’s discovered that the meteor shower that caused them to crash was part of a much bigger asteroid falling towards the planet.

Adam Driver stars in 65.

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65 is one more solid films to come out in the early portion of 2023, but it still commits the massive crime of allowing for the possibility that it may not meet audiences’ expectations.

The biggest disconnect that audiences are going to have with the film is the fact that many were led to believe it was a big sci-fi epic, it’s actually more of a simple father-daughter survival story.

Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt star in 65.

The film’s strongest theme is family. Driver’s Mills is revealed to have a young daughter who passed away during his assignment on the ship, while Koa is left with no guardian to protect her after her parents are killed during the crash.

This dynamic gives  you two characters who need each other at just the right time. It’s clear that, whether you think they pulled it off or not, the film’s writers-slash-directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods were trying to recreate the magic of family-driven horror that they produced with the first A Quiet Place.

Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt star in 65.

65 does a very good job of mixing prehistoric worldbuilding with modern technology, and in doing so creates an intriguing thriller.

While the film tries its best to not directly rip off Jurassic Park, it puts to good use a lot of the classic dinosaur series’ elements, as well as its own interesting creatures that were crafted on a much smaller budget.

Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt stars in 65.

With a runtime of only 93 minutes and only four human characters in the entire movie 65 is the big-budget version of a bottle film.

And it’s all thanks to Driver and Greenblatt’s chemistry, along with their communication both verbal and otherwise, that the film thrives in this setting.

Adam Driver stars in 65.

If you’re going in the 65 expecting Adam Driver to go full Duke Nukem on a bunch of dinosaurs, you do get that at times, but the film is much more than that.

In the end, it’s an old-school adventure movie that relies a lot more on characters and human themes than dinosaur smithereens to sell its story.

Adam Driver stars in 65.

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