With enough hype, interviews gone viral and online media buzz to make Kanye proud, Passengers, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, was supposed to be Columbia Pictures’ sci-fi drama alternative to the new Star Wars film for moviegoers this holiday season. And an alternative it is.
While it’s safe to say Passengers doesn’t hold a lightsaber to Rogue One, this film presents a cool idea and a must-see performance from Chris Pratt as he tackles his most dramatic role since leaping into leading roles in Hollywood, as well as Jennifer Lawrence's constant crying and running around angrily.
Passengers is set aboard the Avalon, a space ship destined for Homestead II, a distant planet to be colonised by the 5000 passengers and 200+ crew aboard the vessel. The story begins 30 years into a 120-year journey when an issue with Hollywood's two hottest stars' hibernation pods causes them to awaken 90 years too soon. It is up to them, Jim Preston (Pratt), a mechanical engineer and Aurora Lane (Lawrence), a writer, to work out what has caused this malfunction and how to escape the disastrous position it has put them in – facing certain death aboard the vessel before it arrives. Add in some dramatic issues with the ship and you're in for a wild and sometimes corny ride.
There's no denying the set design and visual effects are very impressive and during times where it seems nothing could redeem the film, there were images of infinite space and star systems that made you forget it all for a moment.
Despite being subjected to some questionable clichéd dialogues, Chris Pratt was the obvious stand-out in this movie... sorry Jennifer. Before Aurora’s pod malfunctions, it almost feels like you’ll be watching Cast Away on a space ship unfold and I kinda wish that's how it stayed. Michael Sheen who plays Arthur, a bartending android, also delivers some much-needed comedy on this sinking ship.
Ultimately, I went into Passengers not knowing what to expect and came out not knowing really what had just happened. Basically Chris Pratt saved this movie from a certain demise as Jennifer Lawrence's very unsubtle acting at times made scenes too dramatic. All in all it does the job but don't say I didn't warn you about the ending...
Dan's rating: 2.5/5 Jennifer Lawrence looks of despair