Bad movies waste time, but a contrived, empty-headed dinosaur movie called 65 wastes more of it than anything I’ve seen lately. The only thing worth mentioning here is the initial idea, which nobody follows to anything resembling a satisfactory conclusion, and the star, Adam Driver, who is filthy and somewhat dazed throughout. He plays an astronaut named Mills whose spaceship is hit by an asteroid, killing everyone on board except a cryogenically frozen girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) on her way to start life anew on another planet. When they crawl out of the wreckage, they discover, to their horror, they are stranded on a hostile planet inhabited by dinosaurs. For the next 90 minutes, the pilot and the girl narrowly dodge death by razor-sharp fangs as they are pursued by ravenous snakes, meat-hungry flying raptors and other assorted hissing, growling, roaring, screeching monsters. The only escape is through a cave and over the top of a dangerous rock and when they reach the other side, they discover, to their amazement and our amusement, that they’ve been on the planet Earth all along, but 65 million years ago. They’ve been through Hell, for apparently no reason. Call it Jurassic Disneyland.
65 ★ (1/4 stars)
Covered with sores, crushed by a collapsing wall of jagged stones, and vomiting on cue, the hapless duo speaks two different languages, so dialogue is minimal. Lacking any kind of narrative drive, the movie makes up for an absence of plot by featuring a creepier assortment of prehistoric creatures than usual, all posing constant threats to keep the movie going but doing nothing much more than biting each other. The real stars of 65 are the folks in makeup and special effects. The worst thing that happens to Adam Driver besides clawing his way out of a bog of quicksand is when he falls out of a tree.
The inept writing and directing are both the work of Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, and it’s hard to decide which talent (or lack thereof) is the most boring. The idea of real people being tortured on a planet of pointless horrors only to discover they’ve never left Earth must have intrigued the creative team responsible, but it’s hard to imagine nobody bothered to tell them about the Statue of Liberty at the end of Planet of the Apes. 65 is a gruesome thing to watch, even for dinosaur lovers—and not much fun, either.
Observer Reviews are regular assessments of new and noteworthy cinema.