In ‘65,’ Adam Driver might just save the world; the movie, not so much

This loony, murky and muddled sci-fi action semi-thriller with A-list star Driver and talented writers takes a detour through B-Movie Lane in a film that isn’t compelling enough to make for silly popcorn entertainment but isn’t terrible enough to be labeled a disaster.

SHARE In ‘65,’ Adam Driver might just save the world; the movie, not so much
Adam Driver is a galactic traveler who finds himself on a distant planet where he confronts dinosaurs and more in “65.”

Adam Driver is a galactic traveler who finds himself on a distant planet where he confronts dinosaurs and more in “65.”

Sony

Hollywood has long been fascinated with placing humans and prehistoric beasts in the same time frame, from the 1940 fantasy adventure “One Million B.C.” (and the 1966 remake “One Million Years B.C.”) to the 1960s prime-time network animated series “The Flintstones” to the advent of the “Jurassic Park” franchise in the 1990s, which cleverly flipped the script and brought the dinosaurs to us instead of the other way around.

Now comes the loony, murky and muddled sci-fi action semi-thriller “65,” with A-list star Adam Driver and the talented writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (who collaborated with John Krasinski on “A Quiet Place”) taking a detour through B-Movie Lane in a film that isn’t compelling enough to make for silly popcorn entertainment but isn’t terrible enough to be labeled a disaster.

‘65’

65 reviecw

Columbia Pictures presents a film written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. Rated PG-13 (for intense sci-fi action and peril, and brief bloody images). Running time: 93 minutes. Now showing at local theaters.

The premise of “65” sounds like something out of one of those fake movie trailers Mel Brooks or Ben Stiller would put together: Esteemed film actor Adam Driver plays a galactic traveler who crash-lands on Earth some 65 million years in the past and shoots his ray-gun at dinosaurs and other predators from the Cretaceous Period, all the while protecting a little girl who is a metaphor for his dying daughter. There’s even a moment when Driver’s long-haired and bearded Mills, who has sustained a wound in his side, looks like a dead ringer for “King of Kings” era Jesus. Or maybe this Adam is Biblical Adam!

Nah, he’s just a pilot who lives with his wife Alya (Nika King) and their daughter Nevine (Chloe Coleman) on the planet of Somaris, which we’re told is one of the multitude of civilizations that existed long before the dawn of humankind on Earth. Poor Nevine has one of those movie diseases that are indicated by a persistent, light cough, leading Mills to accept a two-year assignment piloting an exploratory flight to a distant planet so he can earn enough to pay for Nevine’s treatment. (Apparently, there’s a not a great health plan for intergalactic pilots and their families on Somaris.)

Mills and his passengers are enjoying a nice long cryogenic nap when an asteroid field smashes into the ship and knocks it off course, forcing a crash-landing on the nearest planet, the aforementioned Earth. There are only two survivors: Mills, and a 9-year-old girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), who is from another region of Somaris and speaks a different language.

As the reluctant anti-hero and the plucky child embark on their perilous journey to reach the escape pod from the other half of the shipwreck (“Last of Us” dynamic, anyone?), Mills doesn’t bother to try to learn the child’s language, but he teaches her words such as “family,” “ship” and most important, “RUN!”

We get a couple of decent jump-scares over the 92-minute running time, and Mills has some pretty cool toys he uses to fend off the just-OK CGI creatures of all sizes that keep trying to tear them apart. Driver plays it all in the same deadly serious tone he brings to fare such as “A Marriage Story,” which is kinda great, and Greenblatt is a gamer who throws herself into a cliché-riddled part.

One thing is for certain: If Mills and Koa ever DO make it back to Somaris, that man should march straight into headquarters — as soon as he’s recovered from his many, many injuries — and once again renegotiate his contract. Whatever raise they gave him, it wasn’t enough to put up with asteroids and dinosaurs and velociraptors, man.

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