Release Date: December 14th, 2016 (Regency Village Theatre Premiere)
Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Written by: Jon Spaihts
Music by: Thomas Newman
Cast: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy García
LStar Capital, Village Roadshow Pictures, Wanda Pictures, Original Film, Company Films, Start Motion Pictures, Columbia Pictures, 116 Minutes
Passengers sees Chris Pratt, one of my favorite up and coming actors, team up with Jennifer Lawrence, someone I actually haven’t seen a lot of but everyone else seems to love. It also stars Michael Sheen, who is generally fun to watch, and Lawrence Fishburne, who I’ve been a fan of since A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Andy Garcia makes a quick appearance, as well.
One thing I will say, is that the trailers don’t seem to get the film’s balance right. I thought this would be more of a space action thriller. The bulk of the story deals with the romance between Pratt’s Jim and Lawrence’s Aurora. In fact, the romance is the entire driving force of the movie. Sure, you want them to succeed and save the 5000 other sleeping people on the ship but you never even realize that they are in mortal danger until 80 percent of the way into the picture.
Now this isn’t a knock, I enjoyed the romance part of the film and thought it was well-handled and executed. I just feel that the film sold itself on false pretenses. Some teenagers in the theater looked bored as hell over halfway into the movie. This isn’t a bad movie, by any means, it just isn’t what most people will be expecting and that’s the fault of marketing. Then again, maybe they just wanted asses in seats and knew that they wouldn’t get as many, if Passengers was billed as a romance movie.
There is still a lot of science fiction. There is also a lot of suspense. There is even a bit of action. Ultimately, it has a lot of things going for it and there is something here for most audiences.
The most standout thing about the film is the acting. Pratt and Lawrence were both superb and had fantastic chemistry with one another. When shit hit the fan, as an audience, your heart was breaking with them. You wanted these two people to figure things out, even if the situation they found themselves in was damn near irreparable.
The main issue with the movie, is that it is too predictable. While that seems to be the norm with big budget motion pictures these days, playing it safe and giving the audience what they want doesn’t always serve the picture in a positive way. The plot did have a few curveballs, here and there, but nothing to really keep you on your toes or to take you by surprise.
Strangely, Passengers feels like a serious and romantic version of the great television show Red Dwarf. A guy wakes from suspended animation, he’s the only one initially on the ship, he is traveling in deep space – light years from Earth, he has a robot confidant, he has malfunctioning repair robots and vending machines, then he finds himself having a rocky relationship with his other travel companion. The only thing it is missing is a humanoid cat wearing pimp clothes.
I did like the movie. I just don’t know if it is something I will ever want to watch again. However, it was at least entertaining on a day where I had nothing else to do.