2023, Movies

65 (2023, Scott Beck, Bryan Woods)

This is one of those high concept science fiction films where there concept is so ridiculous that the film itself can probably never recover. You see, the 65 stands for “65 million years ago. But then, it says “Prior to the advent of mankind, in the infinity of space, other civilizations explored the heavens.” And then it goes to one of those other planets populated by a pre-mankind civilization somewhere in the “heavens” (which are only, um, “heavens” to mankind) and it’s three English-speaking humans. This is in the opening few minutes of the film. It’s like the 2023 equivalent of those ’50s science fiction films where the aliens wore hats or different coloured clothes in order to distinguish them from actual humans.

So that’s how we start. If you can accept that stupidity, you probably don’t mind the rest of the film, but if you don’t accept it, the rest of the film doesn’t work. And then there’s this other really, really stupid thing: the time that Adam Driver – clearly not a human – and his ship happen to crash land on Earth just happens to be days before the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. What an amazing accident. Not only does this human-looking but very much not human, um, man crash land on Earth during the era of the dinosaurs – as opposed to less interesting times – but he does so at perhaps the most spectacular time.

The film doesn’t care about explaining how any of this could be remotely possible beyond that it was dreamed up in somebody’s mind. Instead, Driver’s character has typical concerns of a person, he has a family, he has a dying child – because of course he does – and he has a job he has to do to pay for the medical bills. All things we’d clearly associate with an alien civilization predating mankind.

As for the actual film: the effects are fine, I guess. The technology feels pretty routine for one of these films though there is some creativity there. Driver is trying and Greenblatt, as his surrogate daughter, is quite good. The script is not good, but the production values are otherwise unimpeachable. And maybe that makes the insulting premise worse.


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