65 (2023)

Rating: C-

Dir: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Star: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman, Nika King

While Driver has the necessary presence to pull this off, the reality is that this is too plodding to be effective. Something involving dinosaurs, an extinction level event and a crashed spacecraft should be considerably more exciting than this ends up being. It begins with Mills (Driver), a star pilot on the planet of Somaris, who takes a two-year mission in order to fund medical treatment for his daughter, Nevine (Coleman). His spacecraft is hit by meteors, and forced down on a primitive planet, with the only other survivor a girl named Koa (Greenblatt), about Nevine’s age. Communication with her is hampered by the lack of a common language.

The craft broke in two pieces on re-entry, and they head across the planet towards the other part, which contains an escape shuttle offering a potential way off planet. In between here and there are harsh terrain and unfriendly fauna. There’s a strict time limit to their departure window too. The debris field which wrecked Mills’s ship was just an appetizer to the main, asteroid-shaped event. For this planet is Earth, 65 million years BC, and as you are probably aware, that was not a good time to be on the planet, if you’re among about three-quarters of the species present at that point. You can likely figure out how the plot evolves from there, with Mills and Koa bonding, as they rescue each other from dinosaurs on their way to the shuttle.

There seems to be a great deal of trudging through the forest, and not nearly enough fighting dinosaurs for my tastes. Frankly, much of the latter appears to have been in the trailer, and little of the former, which may have skewed my expectations somewhat. I will admit, what you get is reasonably well-rendered, and Driver delivers his usual, likeable performance. Even at 92 minutes though – virtually a short, by 2023 standards – this struggles to fill its running time with interesting scenes. Lobbing largely underwhelming reptiles at us, or having Mills fall into quicksand (1982 called, they want their peril back) do not qualify. Though I was amused that this extraterrestrial race appear to use the metric system to measure distance.

There’s not much more to say. The film basically only has four speaking parts. Two are rarely on screen, and the other two don’t share a common tongue. 90% of the film is outside. It basically has “COVID-19 project” written all over it. Two years ago, there might have been an excuse for this kind of emergency movie, forced to be made under the constraints of the time. With those in mind, it’s by no means terrible. However, even with the limitations, it could have been significantly better. More dinosaurs. More mayhem. Just more stuff. You have an entire prehistoric world at your disposal. It would have been nice to see more of it, or at least a part which didn’t resemble Louisiana bayous and/or the Pacific Northwest.