Film Review – Passengers (2016)

imageTitle: Passengers (2016)

Director: Morten Tyldum (Headhunters)

Cast: Chris Pratt. Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishbourne

Plot: Heading towards a newly inhabited planet on-board the Starship Avalon, Jim Preston (Pratt) is awoken from his hyper-sleep 90 years too soon with his only solace robot barman Arthur (Sheen). This changes however with the awakening of author Aurora Lane (Lawrence), who not only offers Jim companionship but the possibility of a soul-mate.

“You can’t get so hung up on where you’d rather be, that you forget to make the most of where you are”

Review by Eddie on 2/02/2017

It’s not hard to see what Passengers could’ve been, but this big budgeted and much hyped Sci-Fi romance starring two of the worlds most well-liked Hollywood stars is one of the more curiously forgotten-about spectacles of the increasingly busy end of year releases. Really, though, this largely critically panned feature is not half as bad as many have called it out to be.

Very far from the Titanic in space it was looking to become, Passengers is still a polished and visually arresting tale of love and survival on human transport ship Starship Avalon that allows everyone’s new favorite good guy Chris Pratt a chance to show his solid leading man credentials and The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum a chance to go wild with the possibilities of imagining what life would be like aboard a ship designed and catered to delivering such valuable cargo on a 100 plus year voyage.

From themed restaurants, spacesuit adventures, swimming pools right through to a manned bar, Passengers design of Avalon is a sight to behold and provides a point of difference to our average movie space ship that is often grum and lifeless while the film’s often lighter tone is highlighted by Pratt’s turn as the unfortunately early awoken Jim Preston.

To say that Passengers doesn’t go to dark places however would be a disservice to a film that perhaps goes too dark for some people’s tastes, but it feels as though Tyldum and his team can’t do these element’s full justice and some of the films ‘big questions’ don’t get fully formed answers, while the films 4th act is a particular letdown, especially after the movie’s impressively captivating opening stanza.

The other rather glaring problem that stops Passengers from becoming the sum of it’s parts is the introduction of Jennifer Lawrence’s Aurora Lane who plays a true support turn to Pratt’s Jim, but while the two likeable actors clearly get on like a house on fire (as evidenced by the press tour) the budding romance of Jim and Aurora as they come to grips with their situation on Avalon never really comes out trumps.

Had the duos off-screen rapport been better utilized between the pair it’s likely that much more of Passengers more corny dialogue and underdeveloped situations could’ve come off a little smoother, while the sometimes uneasy relationship the film develops between it’s lighter and darker moment’s would’ve felt much more fluent.

Heading into Passengers with an open mind and willing attitude will allow the viewer to experience a fun deep space adventure filled with enough romance to keep the Hallmark crowd well and truly happy and Sci-Fi fans intrigued by the imagination on show. By no means a Sci-Fi classic, Passengers is still a journey worth jumping on board for.

3 and a half pesky security doors out of 5

11 responses to “Film Review – Passengers (2016)

  1. I enjoyed it – the twinkling stars in the sky and that pool – but for me, the best part was Laurence Fishburne’s amazing small scene. You’re right to point out that the two leads never really had any romantic chemistry. It felt like what it was: watching two great friends going on a trip together.

    • Yeh I was surprised that their romance never felt right in the film as they clearly get on quite well. Fishburne was actually really good in this one, been a while since I’ve felt he delivered a good turn.

  2. I’m glad they didn’t overdo it with the romance. And even more so that they made JLaw’s character strong and angry after she finds out and not moping around heartbroken the whole time.

    And I’m even more glad it got nominated for Production Design (fricken beautiful) and the score was solid so it deserved its nomination there too.

  3. I like your review, very concise and easy to digest. The point about the chemistry between Lawrence and Pratt was interesting, they had a great off screen dynamic which could have been better used in the film. It might be one to buy on Blu-ray.

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