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Passengers Review

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For his follow-up to Headhunters and The Imitation Game, director Mortem Tyldum is leaving the confines of Earth to give us Passengers, a movie that can be best described as Titanic in space. Mainly a sci-fi romance, with a hefty dose of action mixed in, it also brings together two of the biggest stars in Hollywood at the moment, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, as Jim and Aurora, two passengers on the starship Avalon, a colony ship that is transporting over 5,000 souls to a new planet, a journey that takes 120 years. When the pair’s hibernation pods malfunction, waking them up with 90 years to go with no way of going back to go back in, they try to make the most of their unique situation, growing closer as the ship’s mounting malfunctions threaten the lives of everyone on board. Unfortunately, with the caliber of everyone involved, Passengers ultimately ends up being a pretty one note, soulless affair.


‘There is a reason they woke up’. That’s the tag line that was plastered all over the posters and multiple trailers for this movie, promising some big twist if the prospect of seeing Star Lord and Mystique share the screen wasn’t a big enough draw for you. But this particular ‘twist’ will have you questioning what constitutes a twist or spoiler, dropping into our laps in the first act. I’m well aware how sensitive of spoilers people can be, so I’ll refrain from spilling the beans here, but it is something you’ll see coming in the first five minutes. And with the audience in on the secret before one particular character, the movie just marks time till the midpoint waiting for the other shoe the drop. It’s just one aspect of a very muddled, episodic narrative, tripping from one set of problems to another. There are the germs of some really great ideas in the script from Jon Spaihts, which goes some surprisingly dark places when confronting themes of isolation and betrayal, but there’s no real cohesion to the story and there are times the movie just rehashes scenes and story beats over and over again. More often than not, you will find yourself  brought straight out of the movie, and if you’re like me you will fill that time by nudging the person beside you whenever they say the title of the movie (I would like to take this time to apologise to my wife for distracting her exactly 15 times during the 116 minute runtime). Things pick up slightly when Passengers realises it has to wrap everything up, but only just, wrapping up the story in a way a lot of people would have seen coming when they first heard about this movie.

As you expect, Lawrence and Pratt are immensely likable as co-leads and have a great chemistry which they use to spark off each other wonderfully. As you would expect the movie is pretty much a two hander, with the only other substantial character being Michael Sheen’s robotic bartender (who adds some nice comic relief to proceedings), and they handle being the sole focus of the movie incredibly well, even when they are hampered by a script which takes some pretty sharp turns in logic for the sake of getting to the next scene. And if I can revisit that twist/not twist one more time, Pratt’s Jim makes a pretty morally suspect decision that should paint him as the bad guy, but the fact that he is who is, the most lovable guy in Hollywood right now, it just gets swept away and doesn’t really have the power Tyldum and Spaihts clearly want it to have.

Despite the work the co-leads put in to make the one note story entertaining, Passengers ultimately becomes a shallow, generic sci-fi tale despite all its big ideas.






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The Movie Bit: Passengers Review
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