Warning: This article contains spoilers for 65.The highly anticipated sci-fi thriller 65 has opened with an abysmal Rotten Tomatoes score, a career-worst for lead Adam Driver. The robust dramatic actor makes his return to intergalactic action since Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy wrapped as Commander Mills, in charge of piloting and overseeing a multi-year exploration mission in exchange for the kind of serious money that will cover the cost of treating his daughter’s devastating illness. When an asteroid belt causes his ship to crash-land on Earth 65 million years ago, Mills must not only protect himself from its prehistoric predators but a young girl named Koa, the only other survivor. However, this intriguing premise has not been enough to save 65 from becoming a critical disappointment.
Despite being produced by genre auteur Sam Raimi, directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (the duo behind A Quiet Place and its sequel), and starring a small but strong cast of women including Ariana Greenblatt and Chloe Coleman, 65 has failed to perform. At 36% at the time of writing, 65’s Rotten Tomatoes score is Driver’s worst yet, even with an emotionally engaging and physically demanding performance as Mills, marring a filmography that’s full of critically acclaimed dramas and blockbusters. There are myriad reasons why 65 doesn’t quite work, though most of them have little to do with Driver, making the horrible Rotten score somewhat unfortunate.
How 65’s Rotten Tomatoes Compares To Adam Driver’s Other Movies
So far, 65’s Rotten Tomatoes score is the worst of Adam Driver’s other movies. For someone who’s worked with everyone from budding visionaries like Noah Baumbach in Marriage Story and Ridley Scott in The Last Duel, not all of his movies get incredibly high scores because they can be polarizing. For instance, franchise giant Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker only has a 52%, and the Jim Jarmusch horror comedy also starring Bill Murray, The Dead Don’t Die, only has slightly better at 55%. His second-lowest score is the adaptation of This Is Where I Leave You, which despite being incredibly popular on streaming, only has a 44%.
Where Driver shines is in indie movies, Oscar nominees, and offbeat comedies, with movies like Blackkklansman (in which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor) and Paterson sitting at 96%, and Marriage Story (in which he received the nomination for Best Actor) having 95%. 65 isn’t quite like anything he’s done before, which is perhaps why it seems like such a glaring spot on his prestigious filmography. A hodgepodge of genres, it never quite takes off until it’s about to end, but it does represent a mid-budget action-thriller that highlights how versatile he is as a performer.
65 Fails To Include What Makes Sci-Fi & Dinosaur Action Movies So Great
65 tries to do too many things at once with its unconventional premise, and as a result never really succeeds with any of them, though all the pieces it tries to incorporate from sci-fi and dinosaur movies represent a lot of potential. 65 is a risk for Driver that makes sense on paper; it highlights him as a versatile actor who takes risks in the pursuit of broadening his range, shows he can make a space movie without “Wars” in the title, and uses his real-life military training. Unfortunately, 65 suffers from a lot of underdeveloped ideas that only come together too late.
According to David Fear, “It’s not schlocky enough to be so-bad-it’s-good and nowhere near good enough to be taken even a tiny bit seriously,” (via Rolling Stone) and Richard Roeper thinks it isn’t “compelling enough to make for silly popcorn entertainment but isn’t terrible enough to be labeled a disaster.” (via Chicago Sun-Times). Even with the introduction of a meteor plummeting to Earth along with the constant threat of dinosaurs, the stakes don’t feel very high. Despite breaking a Jurassic Park movie trend with scarier dinosaurs, it doesn’t use musical leitmotifs to amplify its action sequences or its poignant moments and doesn’t develop its central characters beyond cookie-cutter archetypes.
Adam Driver Can Still Redeem His Bad Rotten Tomatoes In 2023
Despite 65’s poor Rotten Tomatoes score and bad reviews, Adam Driver can still redeem himself with the movies on his slate for the rest of 2023. Later in the year, he’s playing Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann’s Ferrari biopic, which will likely be popular with critics and fans alike because of its dramatic storytelling and high-speed automotive races. After that, he’ll be part of Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis, a movie a decade in the making that boasts a large and impressive cast.
Driver’s performance anchors and legitimizes the plot, and the film does have some genuine scares, as well as an authentic lived-in quality that conjures up the Alien franchise. If its Rotten Tomatoes score doesn’t improve over time, there’s still a chance that when 65 hits streaming it’ll get a dino-sized redemption even if it didn’t do well in theaters. In the meantime, Driver will probably continue to make bold choices and demonstrate why he’s one of the most unpredictable and daring actors working today.
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