How many of these distant future Vs prehistoric times movies have we gotten because I’ve lost count. “65” didn’t look as if it was going to be any different or break the mold in any which way and that is both it’s greatest strength and detriment.
Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, I will say, knows what the project at hand is. Their combined direction has a firm handle on the genre; the sci-fi is not overplayed, and they don’t require the audience to think beyond the surface level, which is a hallmark of good sci-fi. It’s a bit of a shame that everything doesn’t gel together.
Adam Driver commands the screen for most of the runtime and he is fairly believable in the role; same with Ariana Greenbait and the rest of the cast with their cliched-given roles. For every solid frame of cinematography and clever camera placement or movement, there’s an awkward editing choice that follows and hampers it. Dialogue ranges between decent and blunt, the action sequences came off very video game-esque which I didn’t really mind, even if they are distracting at certain intervals. But the production design impressed me the most; staging its various set pieces almost entirely outdoors, the lush greenery and decimation of its wildlife setting does, at the very least, set the stage, mood and tone for what kind of adventure we’ll be in for. Chris Bacon’s musical score does the bare minimum to give the film some type of atmospheric aura and as much as I hate to admit it, the jumpscares are actually fairly decent.
VFX wise, it’s no Jurassic Park although not for a lack of trying. Not that that’s saying much, since most of the dinosaurs come across as grey featherless crocodile demons; a fancy way of saying they all look ugly.
Here’s the thing about the story here. For survival thrillers, there’s normally a sense of escalation that builds in the plot and the characters’ development as they become aware of the danger of their situation. Said plot is supposed to lure and lull us into a false sense of security before it rattles us and this film does not do much of a good job at it; it’s glacially thin on a narrative standpoint and any attempts at emotional depth and/or humor are fairly weak. What could’ve been a nice switch up on the Planet Of The Apes formula or, hell, even a prehistoric “The Last Of Us”….. feels more like After Earth, only it’s more trivial and derivative than incomprehensible. This entire story is a giant hodgepodge of countless monster, space and survival threads with basic stone-age story concepts that have already been told and told much better.
I literally just mentioned this with Devils Peak: there nothing wrong with being predictable but something has to stand out from it and outside of Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt’s performances, not much does. It does a decent job setting up Driver’s backstory and the trauma he carries but what’s meant to be poignant family drama doesn’t carry over the same way Joel taking care of Ellie does. The stakes are low and even when something interesting does pick up near the end, it’s too little too late for any suspense or tension to have the chance to exist.
You’d think the writers behind A Quiet Place would understand the importance of compounding terror with a deadly game of cat-and-mouse but apparently, even they can’t escape falling into the quicksand where Jurassic World now resides in. I can’t help but feel as if they were in a tight schedule and had to settle with something by-the-book and if what I heard about Sony still testing this movie weeks before release is true, then they were still probably adding or taking things out as they went along.
On a surface level viewing, it’s a nice way to pass the time for 93 minutes since the movie doesn’t waste anytime getting to the point. 65 isn’t extinction, it’s just an old fossil you’ll dig up, look at it for a few hours and then move on. You’ll know it was there but you won’t remember much.