65 (2023): Jurassic Farce
“65” is written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the duo who also scripted “A Quiet Place” and “A Quiet Place Part II” alongside John Krasinski. This film stars Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Marriage Story) and Ariana Greenblatt (Avengers: Infinity War, Awake) in a story set 65 million years before modern times. In this science fiction adventure, Mills (Driver) crashes on prehistoric earth, which to him is an unfamiliar territory. He discovers within the surroundings of this land, there is intelligent life, specifically a young human girl, and dinosaurs.
“65” is easily one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Yes, it has an early release date. Although it has a lot of promise going into it. Adam Driver is a terrific actor who gives it his all in every project he does. The plot is simple but also engaging enough to not turn me off. Oh, and what was the other thing? A little something called DINOSAURS!
I was not just excited for “65” because dinosaurs were in it, but I happened to be eagerly awaiting to see what precisely “65” would do with these dinosaurs. Because I was hoping we would get a proper use of these creatures after a couple underwhelming “Jurassic World” movies. The last couple were not that great, especially “Dominion,” which I consider an achievement because it somehow managed to make dinosaurs boring. While the trailer for “65” showcased the dinosaurs to some degree, it never fleshed them out. That gave me the impression that the dinosaurs in this movie would be special, they are not going to emit a special kind of staleness. In addition, they will actually come off as scary.
But you know what is also scary? The fact that “65” might just be the worst movie I have seen so far this year.
I am truly disappointed to bring this thought to the table, because I was genuinely excited for this movie. It hurts to watch a movie that sucks. However, it breaks my heart to see a movie that I was rooting for from the beginning turn out as bad as it did. Although I should have seen the writing on the wall. Sony did not do a ton of marketing for this film. While I had no intentions to watch this, mainly because I am not caught up in the franchise, Sony made the decision to release this movie the same weekend as “Scream VI.” “65” is not a pure horror flick, but it has a ton of horror elements wrapped in whatever package it tends to bring forth. Therefore, I would not call it counterprogramming. Maybe Sony thought it could do well as a double feature with its competitor. I am not sure.
Once again, “65” is written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, whose experience with “A Quiet Place” speaks volumes. No pun intended. Much like “A Quiet Place,” “65” is a simple movie with a few characters who are simply trying to survive against dangerous monsters. Or in this case, dinosaurs. Although what made the screenplay for “A Quiet Place” so brilliant compared to a ton of other mainstream films is that it has almost no spoken dialogue. There are a few lines. There is also sign language. But it goes to show the power of film as a visual medium. While “65” does not have a script that insults your intelligence, the way certain lines came to life did not end up coming off in maybe the way I would have hoped. There is one particular exchange between Mills and Koe where the former emits a noise, and there is this awkward pause. Not only is the pause, again, awkward, but the noise sounds almost unnatural. For all I know, maybe Driver was poorly directed in that moment.
“65” is like if “Jurassic Park,” “A Quiet Place,” and “The Midnight Sky” got together to create a lovechild. You have dinosaurs, minimal lines, and an older man/younger girl relationship that moves things along. Except in the case of “65,” they forgot the part where they actually had to make a good movie.
This is not to say there are no positives in “65.” The film’s visual effects look clean and slick. They fit perfect within the film’s environment. The tech looks polished. The dinosaurs look real. I have no problem with the way this movie looks. I would also say some of the shots are screensaver-worthy. Not to beat a dead horse, even though this movie was not executed perfectly, the concept was at least intriguing. There was also some tension to be had in the movie regarding a particular element beyond the main characters’ control. Although I wish the writing happened to be better and the characters had more of a personality than what the movie gave me.
If I had to make a guess, “65” sounded like a great movie on paper, but was ultimately a project whose signs of doom appeared somewhere in the edit. If I pitched a movie to a studio about dinosaurs, I am sure the person on the receiving end would at least be curious. How could they not? Unless they are named Barney, dinosaurs equal instant, guaranteed entertainment. And the “Jurassic World” movies, including “Dominion,” which released two years after COVID-19 ruined everything, made tons of money despite what I and others have to say about them. “65” is not the same movie as “A Quiet Place,” but Beck and Woods evidently use similar techniques from one film to the other. There is not much dialogue, and therefore, there are moments where we are shown things instead of being told them. A basic rule of filmmaking is to show instead of tell, which is part of what makes “A Quiet Place” work like a charm. But what also made “A Quiet Place” work is that I bought into the relationships between its characters. I liked the dynamic between the family. The main duo in “65” barely has any chemistry whatsoever. Both Driver and Greenblatt do their best alongside each other with the material given to them. Although it does not change the fact these two are leads in an awkwardly designed story that I wanted to end as soon as possible.
Also, it says a lot when a movie that only goes for 93 minutes, just over an hour and a half, somehow feels too long, not to mention insufferably boring on occasion. This film is set 65 million years before our times, and yet that is how long this movie sometimes feels. Maybe this film would have made for a good video game. You could go around detailed portions of prehistoric earth. You could fight dinosaurs. You could have cool weaponry. But as a movie, this was a waste of time.
In the end, “65” is a roaring disappoint. What is it with dinosaur movies as of late? “Jurassic World: Dominion” is one of the worst blockbusters to have released in recent memory. And now “65,” which I thought could have given a boost to the dinosaur movie realm, only makes me think that these kinds of movies should be extinct. I am not going to remember “65.” In fact, I frankly think I may have tuned almost all of it out of my head by now. That is how bad this movie is. Go something else if you have the chance. I am going to give “65” a 2/10.
“65” is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are available now.
Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for the latest DC movie, “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods.” I had a chance to watch the movie last Thursday, and I cannot wait to share my thoughts on this sequel. If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “65?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie you saw in recent memory, that you were looking forward to, only to have your hopes shattered? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!