The Adam Driver-led 65 bombed with critics, continuing a disappointing trend with dinosaur movies that could signal their extinction. 65 stars Adam Driver as Mills, a pilot whose spacecraft crashes into Earth over 65 million years ago when dinosaurs still roamed the planet. While trying to find a way off the planet and protecting the only other survivor, a young girl named Koa, Driver’s character Mills finds himself in a battle with killer T. rex and other pre-extinct dinosaurs.
After being delayed by a year, the March 2023 movie 65 debuted to mostly negative reviews from critics and a lukewarm box office opening. At the time of writing, 65’s Rotten Tomatoes score is at 35%, which is the lowest score of Adam Driver’s career. While Driver’s performance was praised, the film was criticized for its slow pace and lack of action and humor compared to classic dinosaur movies like Jurassic Park. However, 65 isn’t the only dinosaur movie to fail with critics, suggesting it could be the nail in the coffin for this ilk in the creature feature subgenre.
Adam Driver’s 65 Continues Dinosaur Movies’ Worst Review Trend
65 is just the latest in a string of dinosaur movies to receive bad reviews from critics. In 2022, the Netflix movie The Bubble, a satire about the filming of a dinosaur franchise sequel during the pandemic, received a 21% Rotten Tomatoes score from critics. Soon after, 2022’s Jurassic World Dominion (the movie The Bubble was primarily parodying) arrived with the worst reviews of the entire Jurassic Park franchise. Jurassic World Dominion holds a 29% score on Rotten Tomatoes, which is even lower than 65 despite its greater star-power and franchise support.
However, bad reviews for dinosaur movies didn’t simply start over the last few years, as other notable installments in the 2010s failed to live up to critical expectations. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, so the critical flop of its sequel Jurassic World Dominion shouldn’t have been surprising. While the 2016 animated film The Good Dinosaur holds a positive 75% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, this number is the fifth-lowest rating of Pixar’s 26 movies. As such, the failure of Adam Driver’s 65 may not entirely be due to its underwhelming story and pacing, instead pointing to a greater problem with dinosaur movies in general.
65’s Critical Failure Hints At The End Of Dinosaur Movies
The big streak of dinosaur movies failing with critics could signal an end to the subgenre for the time being. While movies in the Jurassic Park franchise will likely always do well at the box office, it seems the novelty of dinosaurs attacking has worn off, with the quality of such stories going away with it. If studios continue to churn out dinosaur movies like 65 with little freshness or twists that reinvigorate such stories, it seems unlikely that more will continue to follow.
The original 1993 Jurassic Park movie will continue to be the quintessential dinosaur feature, but it’s a sad reality that it may be the last great action/sci-fi story centered around the concept. While 65’s sci-fi movie bomb could mean a temporary end to dinosaur films receiving big budgets with huge stars that will sign on to lead them, there’s still potential for filmmakers to take the creatures and add something new to their roles in action-horror premises. The disappointing execution of 65 could either be the straw that broke the camel’s back or – more optimistically – inspire acclaimed filmmakers to tackle the creatures with more compelling stories.
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