I like Adam Driver. I like sci-fi. I like dinosaurs.
65 however, not so much.
I had come into 65 (which implied 65 million years ago) unsure what the premise of the film was going to be. I saw previews of Adam Driver fighting dinosaurs with sci-fi weapons, which I thought would be hard to mess up. I did not know what was happening. Was it time travel? Was it another planet? No to either of those.
Apparently, Adam Driver was a man who lived on a planet somewhere out in space that was very much like earth in all ways (including English language) except it has some special ray guns. He was on mission that was going to take him away from his daughter, who was sick, for two years. The money was meant to help make her well. On this mission, his ship crash landed on earth and it was earth 65 million years ago (to us, not Driver, I guess).
Once there, he discovered a young girl, the only other survivor of the crash, Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), who he claimed was nine, but seemed more like 14 years old.
They discovered that the undiscovered planet had dinosaurs on it, both small and giant. They started on a path to find an escape pod that had fallen on a mountain.
By the way, Adam Driver’s timing is just horrendous, as he landed on earth as the asteroid, that we know killed the dinosaurs, was preparing to crash on the surface (right where he landed, too. How unlucky?)
I had so many problems with the plot. Many of them were small things that would have been an easy fix, but 65 does not seem to care about these details that pulled me out of the film every time. For example, Adam Driver had a computer thingy that could identify the oncoming asteroid that was going to strike earth. But it called it an asteroid. Why? Isn’t that something that an earth based scientist named it? Since this was in the earth’s past, how did that detail get out to Adam Driver’s planet? If this was not the actual earth in the past, I could guess that the vocabulary could sneak out to other planets, but that has not happened yet. Like a said, it was minor, but those kind of details can ruin a sci-fi movie.
The movie also made the odd choice of having Koa speak a different language than Adam Driver or us, the audience. This was meant as an obstacle for Driver, but it never was because he would just say the word slower and everything seemed to work fine. Koa speaking a different language only kept me from connecting to her as a character.
Because of the language barrier for the audience, I did not care much about Koa and I cared even less about the relationship between Adam Driver and Koa. This relationship was basically the same one as Joel and Ellie have in The Last of Us video game and TV show, except Driver was not as awesome as Joel was nor was Koa anything like Ellie.
The movie did have very impressive special effects. The dinosaurs looked great, but the lack of a story or characters that I cared about did not overcome the strong fx.
Adam Driver does a decent job with what he is given, but all he is given is running around, shooting some laser guns and yelling ‘Koa!” A subplot with his daughter is tossed out and then aside before you ever had a chance to care. Ariana Greenblatt was fine, but she should have been speaking English. It would have helped that character immensely.
This felt like a film that could have benefited from another trip or two through the writer’s room. Use time travel and lots of the little problems go away and I can get past them instead of thinking about why they made the choices that they did.