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"65" 4K Review

 The writing-directing team of Scott Beck & Bryan Woods had their breakout moment with their original script for A Quiet Place, which was rewritten and directed by John Krasinski into a growing franchise. However, after watching their leap into Big Time Directing with 65 I can't help but wonder just how much Krasinki's contributions made to making A Quiet Place the gem it was because 65 fails due to a mindless predictable trope-laden script.

 After clumsy title cards explaining that long before human history began there was an advanced planet called Somaris which explored space, we meet Mills (Adam Driver) on the beach with his wife, Alya (Nika King), as he conveniently explains that he's only taking on a two-year-long space mission to make enough money to treat their daughter Nevine's (Chloe Coleman) unspecified medical condition. (How an advanced spacefaring civilization doesn't have equally advanced medical technology and/or a socialized health care system that provides "free" care is only the beginning for the questions 65 will beg.)

 During his voyage, the ship encounters an unexpected asteroid field which strikes the ship (because the ship had no capability to steer around obstacles itself or have shields like in Passengers?) causing it to crash on an uncharted planet, losing all of its cryosleep chambers (Pitch Black did this crash better) in the process. What is this world? As the title card helpfully explains, it's Earth. 65 million years ago. Dun dun DUHN!!!!

Mills, who was not in a cryo capsule (so he was awake and alone while the human cargo slept?) discovers everyone is dead and sends a second distress message cancelling his request for rescue because what's the point? He's about to commit suicide when he changes his mind which is helpful as he discovers that one capsule survived along with its occupant. He locates it in the swamp his part of the ship crashed and finds a young girl inside it. 

He checks the manifest and learns her name is Koa (Ariana Greenblat) and sends a third distress call requesting pickup (unseen are the people at Space Command saying make up your mind, bro) and estimates her age as being about nine (because they didn't have a birthdate on the paperwork?) which if you're thinking that makes her a surrogate daughter figure for Mills like Newt was for Ripley in Aliens then you're keeping up on the Obviousfest 65 is.

 Convenient to their predicament is the discovery that the other half of the ship with an escape pod capable of escaping Earth's gravity survived on a mountain. Convenient for drama is that Koa doesn't speak Mills' language and his translator gizmo is broken, so he has to resort to speaking louder and slower for her to understand that they need to hike 10 miles to the escape pod. And, oh yeah, there are a whole lot of dinosaurs in their way who want to eat them AND the asteroid that killed all the dinosaurs 65 million years ago is on its way, too! Better move faster than that leisurely pace you're on, folks!

No one expects a movie about an astronaut and a child on a planet of hungry dinosaurs to be much more than pulpy escapism, but 65 is especially burdened by too-familiar elements from better movies and being so predictable that almost every "surprise" was telegraphed well ahead of its arrival. Situations felt contrived, not organic, and the list of "Wait, what?" question begs just keeps piling up like how does the scalding power of the geysers not really seem to be a threat to Mills and Koa and how does the climatic battle between T. Rexes and their escape ship not result in catastrophic damage that would prevent their escape. And no, the "it's not supposed to be Shakespeare" excuse is not acceptable. 

Driver's performance is adequate, but he's wasted here; there's nothing that any competent actor couldn't have delivered and it's not like he's elevating the threadbare material. Greenblat's Koa is annoying and constantly doing dumb stuff, but that's the script, not her fault. The visual effects are top-notch despite the movie's SyFy Channel intellectual level and Beck and Woods do a competent job staging the action and plus points for shooting on locations in Louisiana and Oregon rather than doing it virtually on soundstages, but they not able to rise above their rote script. Perhaps they should've had Krasinski punch it up.

The movie's 4K HDR presentation is fine with sharp details and black levels, but the naturalistic cinematography doesn't present many opportunities for visual showoffery. Audio was clear with good surround usage, but again nothing to write home about. 

While a brief 90 minutes long, 65 simply doesn't do enough to fill it's runtime with much that we haven't seen done better elsewhere before.

Score: 3/10. Skip it.


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