Chris Pratt is a passenger on an interstellar spacecraft travelling to a new earth. However a malfunction means that he wakes up 90 years too early. He must now try to survive on his own on this slightly malfunctioning spaceship, or is he on his own?
Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Sci-Fi romance – what could go wrong? Quite a lot apparently. Passengers just should be a home run, with the cast it’s got and the setting it has but for me it just completely fell flat. There is an in-written creepiness to the premise that the movie never escapes. Now this isn’t a spoiler, because it’s the plot but if you want to know nothing about the film stop reading for a bit. But the fact of the matter is Chris Pratt’s character purposefully wakes up Jennifer Lawrence’s character 90 years early, thus condemning her essentially to die alone. He does this because he’s a bit lonely and fancies his chances with her. The film doesn’t ever properly address this and in fact by the end [Actual Spoiler alert] has entirely vindicated his decision to do this atrocious act.
Troubling premise aside, Passengers just isn’t an especially good film. The pacing is too slow, it spends too much time ogling each of its admittedly beautiful stars rather than actually getting to know them, and the effects are only cool looking rather than being extraordinary like they could have been. I can’t help thinking that if this were in the hands of a more interesting director (Tyldum’s Imitation Game is a solid movie but isn’t directorially interesting) it could have been something spectacular. Rather than being a little dull but occasionally cool looking.
On the plus side Michael Sheen’s robot is simply excellent, and both Pratt and Lawrence do solid jobs with poorly written characters. They manage to cobble together a pretty decent chemistry out of nothing really and the two intimate scenes are suitably erotic and exciting.
Overall Passengers is a weak start to 2017 for me. Inherently troubling, but also fairly boring. I wouldn’t go out of your way for this one.