Plot: What’s it about?
When it comes to “prehistoric” films that have dinosaurs, we all think of one thing – Jurassic Park. Sorry other filmmakers, but Steven Spielberg created the definitive movie of this genre. That’s both a blessing and a curse. The “blessing” is that they can essentially keep making them and they’ll be held to the same standard that the original was. But the bad news is that every other film that tries, even a little, to compete will lose. The same goes for a movie about sharks. Again, Spielberg made the greatest movie ever about a killer shark with Jaws. Can we ever think of a casino heist movie without thinking Ocean’s Eleven (or Twelve, Thirteen or Eight)? I think three examples should suffice. But hey, you’ve gotta admire Hollywood for trying. With their success of co-writing A Quiet Place, filmmakers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods penned and directed this one with hopes of creating the success of the aforementioned title. Did they succeed? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Though it doesn’t say it, the story takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I’m serious. Mills (Adam Driver) is a pilot who, in order to get sufficient funds to save his daughter’s (Chloe Coleman) life, takes a two year job that’ll lead him to another galaxy. Yes, evidently he lives in a world that’s mastered interstellar space travel, but yet hasn’t managed to figure out healthcare. Things go wrong (do they ever go right?) and his ship is bombarded by asteroids forcing him to crash land on a planet (we assume it’s Earth, though it’s never said nor is it important). With the rest of the crew dead except for Koa (Arianna Greenblat), the two must make their way across some tough terrain to get to the escape pod and head home. To complicate matters Koa is from another part of the planet and speaks a different language. Furthermore, there are some dinosaurs that see these two as a meal. The goal is simple: get to the ship, don’t get eaten, head home and all is well.
And, of course – it’s not.
Admittedly, Driver and Greenblat do what they can with this script. There’s no mailing it in here. It’s the overarching story that’s the issue with shades of “been there, done that” creeping in from the first scene. The effects are decent, though I prefer the ones in the “other” dinosaur movie and there are some interesting sequences, but by and large I really don’t know what to think. Like so many other films, it’s not “bad” just predictable. And when you can accurately predict how a film will go in the first five minutes, it doesn’t really make for an enjoyable viewing. And it’s amazing how long 93 minutes can seem. I’m sure the film has its attractors, but given the critical and commercial results (the film made $60 million worldwide on a budget of $45 million), I doubt we’ll see anything further. Oh, of note, the film’s title doesn’t appear until 16 minutes into the movie – yes, that’s right – nearly 20 percent of the film passes before we see the title. I don’t get that. Then again it’s not important – just like this film.
Video: How’s it look?
Likely there’s no antecedent when it comes to re-creating prehistoric Earth. We’ll just assume they got it right. 65 is presented in a 2.39:1 AVC HD encode which is nothing short of brilliant. The movie looks excellent, with a pristine print and the kind of depth you’d expect from a new release. Almost all of the scenes show off impressive detail, even in wider shots, so this has some dynamic clarity on display. I found colors to be rich and deep also, with hues that sometimes spring right off the screen. No issues with contrast either, as black levels are stark and consistent. A few brief instances of softness do creep in, but all in all, this is a terrific looking presentation.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD Master Audio mix is good, but not as good as I expected. I anticipated a knockout audio design that put the speakers through the paces, but instead, this is a pretty basic presentation. The audio is clean, crisp, and never out of place, not to mention some deep, thumping bass at times. But when the mix needs to open up and move to the surrounds, the presence is never as immersive as it should be. The surround use is rather anemic, which seems odd for this kind of movie. Of note, the Blu-ray contains the DTS track, if you want to get a Dolby Atmos mix, you’ll have to pony up a few extra bucks for the 4K version. The question you have to ask yourself is…is it worth it?
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Deleted Scenes – Five scenes total, running an additional eight minutes. Given the film’s rather short running time of 93 minutes, I don’t see why these couldn’t have been included. They don’t add anything to the story, but they don’t detract either (and I did wonder where that red powder came from).
- Red Powder
- Look at Me
- Koa’s Stick
- Mills Builds a Fire
- Mills Says Goodbye
- Set in Stone: Filmmakers – The obligatory praise is lauded upon Co-Writer/Directors Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. These were the duo who penned A Quiet Place and, evidently, Sony was hoping they could replicate that success. They did not.
- Future of Yesterday: Creating the World of 65 – A production design feature the that shows some of the practical tactics used for the “world” as well as some of the CGI that was used to make the creatures.
- Primordial Planet – A “preview” of the planet that plays out like a trailer. If you can imagine a National Geographic version of what this movie might look like – this is it
- Final Showdown: Concepts to Screen – The most robust feature on this disc, running a whopping 10 minutes, is this storyboard comparison. We’ve all seen this before, we see the rough sketch/animation in the corner with the “final product” shown. It’s neat…for about two minutes.
- Previews – Other Sony titles are profiled.
The Bottom Line
I was probably a bit too harsh on this film. It wasn’t bad, just unoriginal. Had there never been a Jurassic Park (or its gaggle of sequels and/or reboots) then it’d carry a little more weight. To his credit, Adam Driver does turn in a pretty good performance and his co-hort, Arianna Greenblat, does a fine job as well. Visually it’s stunning with an audio mix that leaves a bit to be desired. The extras are stock, but they’re there if you want them.