’65’ Review: Adam Driver’s Dino Flick | campus.sg


Adam Driver, known for his role as intergalactic antagonist Kylo Ren in Star Wars, returns to the galaxy in his latest flick, 65. This time, he plays Mills, a pilot from the planet Somaris who goes on a 2-year space expedition and crash lands on Earth during the Cretaceous Period. From the movie’s title, you can guess that it’s 65 million years ago. He lands just before Earth is hit by an asteroid – you know, the one that wiped out all the dinosaurs?

Mills and his newly-acquainted child survivor, Koa (played by Arianna Greenblatt), must make their way across an unknown terrain to get to their escape pod. Of course, the terrain is filled with dangerous dinosaurs.

The action

From the moment they crash land on Earth, it’s impossible not to compare 65 to the Jurassic Park franchise right down to many of its most memorable scenes. The two most obvious scenes borrowed from the franchise involve the T-Rex – one where the creature pops up from behind a curtain of water in the rain, and the other involves a limping Mills outrunning a giant, hungry dino which is reminiscent of Claire’s iconic heel-running scene in Jurassic World

A review of 65 needn’t necessarily be about special effects, but the movie feels like it relies heavily on it. In one innovative scene, Mills battles with a man-sized dino in a darkened cave, shown entirely as a hologram on his “proximity sensor”. At the same time, 65 also relies heavily on jump scares – there are enough of those to keep you at the edge of your seat. 

Put all the questions aside

To truly enjoy the movie for what it is, you’ll just have to throw away all those nagging questions you may have. For example, why – if their journey was a research mission – would there be a child on board? And why is Mills speaking English (in what’s known in Hollywood as the Translation Convention) while Koa speaks another language, and both of them need a translator that’s conveniently busted during the crash? For a space-faring species, it’s inconceivable that they still don’t have the capabilities of a smartphone in one handy portable device.

Also, where are all the herbivores? Every single dinosaur in the movie are carnivores trying to eat Mills and Koa. The movie is set at the end of the Cretaceous Period and generally did an accurate job of representing the species present at that time, but it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t come across a single dinosaur not trying to kill them. This is probably so that you don’t feel empathy for any of the dinos, all of whom you know are about to die a horrible, fiery death when (spoiler alert), the giant asteroid smashes into earth. 

A survival plot

If you’re going into 65 expecting an action movie where Adam Driver fights dinosaurs, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re expecting a buddy movie between a middle-aged guy and an unconventional kid who teach each other how to survive against the odds, you also won’t be disappointed. 

While Mills and Koa have their own charms, you don’t really watch 65 for their interactions (mainly because they can’t communicate with each other). Mills is a working dad with demons and regrets, trying to make the best of a bad situation. Koa starts off as a wilful child who’s just lost her parents, and has to rely almost entirely on body language and her eyebrows to do all the talking. 

At times, this leaves 65’s storyline feeling like a first-person shooter game. They crash on an alien world. They need to fight their way past increasingly stronger/larger enemies in order to reach their escape craft, all before time runs out when the asteroid smashes into Earth. During their entire time on Earth, the asteroid could be seen in the sky like a giant timer.

While the movie does leave some questions unanswered, the plot is simple and enjoyable to watch if you enjoy action flicks.