For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved dinosaurs, and not just ‘Oh, I think dinosaurs are cool.’ No, no, no. I mean, I am actively following paleontology news and I’m up to date on whatever the heck is going on with Spinosaurus.
Of course though, I also love dinosaur movies, and I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen the good like “Jurassic Park”, the bad like “Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom”, and the obscure like “Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds”.
So when I saw a new big budget dinosaur film, not connected to the “Jurassic Park” franchise, and being worked on by the people who’ve made an actually decent monster thriller, “A Quiet Place” was coming out, I was pretty excited.
The plot of “65” is that aliens crash land on Earth during the age of the dinosaurs.
Now before you start shouting “spoiler alert” just know that this neat little twist is not only spoiled in the trailer, not only spoiled subtly by the title, and not only spoiled by the poster’s tagline, but the title card within the first few minutes of the film literally says “65” and then under that ‘million years ago visitors crash landed on Earth’ so thanks for spoiling your “Planet of the Apes” esc twist movie, but I’ll get back to that.
Anyways, there are only two survivors of the crash, the pilot and a little girl, unfortunately the two are unable to communicate with each other, but have to work together to get through the dinosaur infested jungle to reach an escape pod and get off Earth before the meteor strikes.
So back to the wasted potential of the twist, what-the-heck movie?! The twist was right there, perfectly laid out in front of them, heck all they had to do was take out the subtitle in the title card, change the trailer, the films tagline, maybe the name a little or have 65 apply to something else, that’s it! Do that and you’d have a solid little twist.
Now is the twist itself fairly obvious, sure, but I don’t think most would realize the characters are meant to be aliens and not humans and might just assume the dinosaurs are alien dinosaurs, wouldn’t be the first time in sci-fi. It’s really just the meteor that’d lead someone to realize they were on earth, but no, all of that wasn’t obvious enough so they spell it out for you right out of the gate.
So they wasted a potential twist, but how’s the story and characters?
Well the characters are definitely the best part of the film. The dynamic between the two is nice and enjoyable to watch. There are some cheesy scenes but for the most part their stuff is pretty good, however, there is one specific instance where one character lies to the other, and when the truth is revealed the one gets mad at the other for a little bit, and then it’s immediately all okay. Aside from that little bit of rushed subplot, their stuff is pretty decent.
Unfortunately it’s not enough to get through the story which consists of the characters slowly walking from one action sequence to the next.
“Jurassic World Dominion” also had a similar problem where after a while it just felt like the characters were moving from one one-off dinosaur encounter to the next, except instead of fighting giant grasshoppers between the dinosaur scenes, “65” instead fills its down time with walking… honestly still more entertaining that “Jurassic World Dominion” though.
But when there is action how is it?
Well … the action is fine I guess, serviceable. Nothing special, just ‘guy shooting dinosaurs with gun and girl getting attacked by dinosaurs,’ standard stuff.
As I’ve already stated I’ve seen a lot of dinosaur movies but “65” has hands down the ugliest dinosaurs I have ever seen! And this film doesn’t have the low budget or outdated effects excuse, this is a 2023 film with a 45 million dollar budget.
First of all the dinosaurs are not accurate, but I don’t think that’s the end all be all of dinosaur design quality, but here it’s really bad, and they aren’t able to make up for inaccuracies because the dinosaurs are just flat out ugly. The skin is shrunk tight to the hips, the Velociraptor-like dinosaurs’ wrists are twisted wrong, eyes are put in odd places, and a lot of the dinosaurs are just fake.
Fake dinosaurs can work, I think “Terra Nova” did it well back in the day, but here they are just ugly and weird and not explained. By the end you’re left with more questions than answers.
And there’s also the fact that this ecosystem is seemingly made of entirely carnivores whose preferred prey item is people, even if there’s two giant carcasses in front of them. There is only one maybe herbivore in the entire film and it’s a weird Ankylosaurus with a T-Rex head so I have no idea what that was supposed to be.
So over all, awful dinosaurs. They look stupid, they act stupid, they suck. It feels like the designer said, “yeah i know what a dinosaur looks like” and then proceeded to draw them from memory with zero references.
One compliment I’ll give the film is that the alien tech is neat, it looks weird and alien but it’s believable … which makes me feel like they put more effort into that than the dinosaurs.
“65” may have a decent little character dynamic between the protagonists, but unfortunately it’s not enough to save the film from its wasted potential, lackluster action scenes, terrible dinosaurs, and a whole lot of walking.
I give this film four Dsungaripterus with their eyes in their nasal cavity out of 10.
Connor Keating is a Halstead sophomore in general studies