<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Morten Tyldum. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne
Running Time: 1 hour 56 minutes
Not expecting much from this film, especially considering the bad reviews, I was actually pleasantly surprised with Passengers.
Reminiscent of a Star Trek film at some points (note Laurence Fishburne’s uniform), Passengers is about the star ship Avalon that is transporting over 5000 passengers and crew from Earth to their new home on a planet over 120 years away. The ship’s shields prevent an asteroid collision, but a small problem creates a malfunction that causes a sole cryogenic chamber (the pods in which the humans are kept in hibernation at their current age till they reach their destination).
Civil engineer James ‘Jim’ Preston is forced to wake up with more than 90 years of his journey still incomplete. He will not make it alive to his new home. Save for a cyborg bartender (Michael Sheen) and some robots, Jim is alone on the expansive Avalon. Until of course loneliness makes him fall for one of the cryo pod occupants – the lovely Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) who he forces out of slumber. Not knowing this, she slowly falls in love with him.
Passengers is about their life and challenges on their journey. Because they’ll never live to see their destination. The truth about the cryo pods and the actual state of the Avalon push them away and then bring them together.
The film has several interesting moments that raise the film above its somewhat common plot. Like when Aurora hits out at a sleeping Jim after she finds out about his deception. Or when the gravity on the ship goes off for a bit as Aurora is taking a swim in a pool that starts floating in the air. There is a quiet beauty about the film with none of that manic mayhem or explosive action gimmickry we’re used to.
Pratt is consistently himself. Lawrence exudes a bit more emotion. Sheen’s character could have been used to lend a bit more intrigue to the film but he serves his purpose well.
Passengers is an interesting tale, that is more about survival and the inherent nature of man to want to start anew, to live, to be with someone and to love someone.