Sci-Fi Thriller “65”: How on Earth Could a Dinosaur Movie Be So Dull?

Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt star in “65,” the new sci-fi thriller that brings dinosaurs back to the big screen.

A sci-fi thriller set during the dinosaur age may sound promising, but “65” failed to bring the expected excitement to the big screen. With a simple plot and lack-luster dialogue, “65,” which was released on March 10, is unengaging and predictable.

Adam Driver stars as Pilot Mills who, during an exploratory mission, crash lands on Earth 65 million years ago. Mills quickly discovers all of his passengers, except for a young girl named Koa played by Ariana Greenblatt, were killed on impact.

Coming from a foreign planet, the pair is surprised by Earth’s roaming dinosaurs. The movie follows Mills and Koa as they journey to an escape ship — their only way home — located 15 kilometers from the site of the crash.

In addition to the threat of dinosaurs, the pair must reach the ship before an incoming asteroid impacts the planet, leaving the pilot and girl with only a few hours to escape.

Speaking two different languages, communication is another challenge for Mills and Koa. Although this provides a unique relationship dynamic, there isn’t enough dialogue to keep viewers interested.

While directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods helped co-write “A Quiet Place” in 2018, their script for “65” falls short. The repeated pattern of vicious dinosaur attacks, jump scares and narrow escapes becomes increasingly dull each time.

While action in the film begins almost immediately with the crash on Earth, there isn’t much more to the rest of the movie other than Mills and Koa fighting dinosaurs.

The saving grace of the film is its cinematography and computer-generated imagery that realistically portray action-packed scenes and, most importantly, the dinosaurs.

One standout scene occurs when Mills first begins exploring Earth. Surveying the land, he stumbles across the skeleton of a large dinosaur. After Mills bends down to pick up a single bone, the camera pans out to reveal the rest of the remains.

The mood created by this creepy scene is exactly what “65” needed more of.

Another redeeming feature of the film is Driver (“Star Wars,” “House of Gucci”) and Greenblatt’s (“Avengers: Infinity War,” “Awake”) on-screen compatibility that allows each scene to flow smoothly. 

Faced with the same challenges including the recent death of loved ones, a paternalistic bond is formed between Mills and Koa, simultaneously adding heartwarming and comedic aspects to the film.

Originally, Koa is reluctant to put her trust in Mills while he appears annoyed by her presence, but as the film progresses they begin to tease each other as a father and daughter might do. Koa jokingly tosses berries at Mills’ back and he lets her place a flower in his hair.

Their relationship complicates the plot to an extent, but it falls into place too perfectly and can only do so much to save the film.

As the most recent dinosaur film to hit the big screen since “Jurassic World: Dominion” was released in 2022, the directors of “65” had big shoes to fill if they wanted to stand out against the multi-billion dollar film. These films are conceptually similar, but Beck and Woods failed to take the creative liberties the directors of the “Jurassic World” franchise took.

After coming to a climax, “65” abruptly ends with viewers left to make assumptions about Mills and Koa’s fate. The end is just as unsatisfying as the rest of the movie.

The film is exactly what the trailer foreshadows. Movie-goers simply searching for dinosaur action will not be disappointed, but for those looking for a multi-layered film, “65” does not meet these expectations.

“65” is in theaters now.

Featured image courtesy of Sony Pictures Presenting

Sophia Robertson

Sophia Robertson