Passengers Sets Off On A Bumpy 120-Year Journey
What do you do when you’re in the middle of writing a big budget movie and you learn that two universally adored and super charming stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt have signed on to be in it? We’re guessing that, for the writers of Passengers at least, you book a tee time and take a lot of smoke breaks while not getting too worked up over a little thing like a third act.
Director Morten Tyldum’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning WWII codebreaker drama, The Imitation Game, starts out strong, but like the 120-year trip Lawrence and Pratt’s characters are on, things don’t progress so well.
Cryogenically conked out for a century-plus-long sleep aboard the Starship Avalon are 5,000 pioneers destined for a colonial future on Homestead-II. Make that 4,999: Jim (Pratt) has been rudely awakened by a pod malfunction that’s roused him 90 years too early. Plucky mechanic that he is, Jim systematically does everything he can to put himself back into sleep mode or contact someone who can. No dice.
A year goes by and Jim’s only companion is a legless android (Michael Sheen) who tends the ship’s empty bar. Jim is lonely. To pass the time, he grows a beard while staring longingly into the cryo-pod of a fellow passenger, Aurora (Lawrence). To pass the time better, he decides to wake her up, effectively stealing her future on Homestead-II. As their relationship breaks down, so does the ship (metaphors!), and they’re forced to work together if they want to live. At some point Laurence Fishburne appears, but he doesn’t stick around.
The Avalon itself looks very cool—especially from the outside—and the movie has some funny moments in which Jim attempts to entertain himself during his year-long solitude. But it’s basically impossible to get past the extreme creep factor of someone crushing so hard on another person’s unconscious body that they decide it’s okay to make a life-altering choice on their behalf.
Setting the weird consent issues aside, ask yourself: Would you sit through nearly two hours of soft sci-fi for a glimpse of Chris Pratt’s bum (perhaps yes), and is Sheen’s bartender-from-the Overlook-Hotel-routine really all that charming (actually yes). So maybe this is worth checking out as a holiday time-filler, but you’ll certainly have a better time if you enter the theatre with lowered expectation.
Passengers is now playing in cinemas. Check out the trailer below: