When you have two of the most popular young actors of this time in one film, you expect that it will be great. Unfortunately, for Passengers this didn’t work out well.
The film could be seen as a mix between Interstellar (2014, dir. Christopher Nolan) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, dir. James Gunn). At the beginning of Passengers, there are some references to Guardians of the Galaxy, but these are left behind when the main protagonist leaves his leather jacket in his room – one that is similar if not the same characteristic jacket that Chris Pratt wore in Guardians of the Galaxy, which indicates that Passengers is another type of film.
Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is on his course to emigrate to another planet: Homestead II. The journey takes about 120 years, for which all the passengers are brought into a hibernation mode. However, due to a technical malfunction Jim wakes up. There is no one else awake, only Jim and the robots. Without any company, he becomes depressed. On his lowest point, Jim sees Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) a New Yorker writer who is still in hibernation mode. He falls in love with her and struggles whether or not to wake her up. After having studied how to awake a person from the induced sleep, he wakes her up. Without knowing about this, she falls in love with him. This seems to take two thirds of the film. At one point, I asked myself: is this it? What is going to happen? Luckily, for my relief and entertainment, things get worse in the starship Avalon.
Multiple systems that operate the starship start to fail, due to a meteorite that got through the protective shield. Without any knowledge about this issue, they continue their lives in the starship. However, another system failure occurs and, coincidentally, Gus (Laurence Fishburne) one of the Chief Deck Officers wakes up. His awakening does not proceed as expected. He suffers from something that makes him unable to see the end of the journey, but before it’s too late, he gives them his ID badge – a key access to all the important sections of the Avalon. Jim and Aurora have to hasten and save everyone, as the system starts to collapse. It is a risky action that they have to take – and this might be one of the few exciting scenes of the film.
In short, the story is weak and is only grounded on the actors’ charisma and popularity. This film has several beautiful scenes (i.e. the open space view), but unfortunately the story unfolds in the starship almost all the time. If you are looking for a spectacular science fiction 3D film, then I wouldn’t recommend this one. This modern Adam and Eve story is too cliché and predicable. However, if you are fond of the actors, and/or like happy romantic space travel stories, then go ahead. This is a passable film.
Cover Image: Screenshot Passengers – Jim and Aurora contemplating what cannot be done.