Passengers is a sci-fi drama directed by Morten Tyldum, on a generational spaceship – the Avalon, travelling on a 120 year journey, 2 passengers are awoken 90 years early, the film stars Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia.
The central premise of Passengers is a quite interesting one, a sort of solitary space faring drama in the vein of Solaris but quite a bit different, with two sole survivors…. or passengers rather with Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), trying to cope and come to terms with the fact that they woke up 90 years early on their journey and can’t go back to sleep. Close, intimate dramas like this are built on the performances of the main characters and fortunately for the film, you have two of Hollywood’s most charismatic and likeable actors in Pratt and Lawrence and in truth either of them could have lead the film more or less on their own.
But together, they make for quite a good, believable pairing and have some good chemistry, which plays a fairly important role in the plot in how the characters relate, they aren’t quite the only characters present though and android waiter Arthur (Michael Sheen) also around, providing the passengers with some companionship at least. Unfortunately for the film, the plot just never quite gets to any interesting degree until the final third of the film imo so that leaves for 2/3 of a rather uneventful affair, despite Pratt and Lawrence being great in their roles, they aren’t left with enough to do and not enough really happens to them to make their ordeal captivating enough. And though some interesting moral and ethical questions are raised here, they’re barely explored in favour of furthering on the plot, Solaris this is not (though a lot of people think that’s boring as well) though I didn’t necessarily expect it to be, I feel the themes present could have been explored in a little bit more depth, what would you do on a spaceship you were doomed to die on? How would you think? Would you wake up other people if you could? The questions are fascinating and while they are explored through Chris Pratts’ action and psyche, this plays second fiddle to a somewhat forced romance angle.
The film also follows a pretty by the numbers twist as well which turns a fairly interesting premise into a more generic one, which is a shame and ultimately this is bubblegum mainstream sci-fi, not particularly that interesting or well thought out, with an intriguing premise that just acts as a background to a drama that itself isn’t really that interesting. Passengers tries to be unique and interesting but fails in its attempt, suffering from a fairly dull and lifeless plot despite its two strong leads and seriously, there is barely any actual plot present aside from the inciting incident of the story, just not a lot happens and it’s a waste of a potentially good story. And true to form, watching the film, you definitely do feel like a passenger – on some form of public transport, along for the ride but barely engaged and wanting to get off.
. Dull and by the numbers plot, could have had interesting plot developments
. Interesting ethical and moral themes are barely touched on
. Has good performances and chemistry between Pratt and Lawrence