PASSENGERS- Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence take a ride on a less-than-fantastic-but-not-that-bad voyage in Passengers
WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Lawrence Fishburne … and about 5 unnecessary seconds of Andy Garcia
DIRECTOR(S): Morten Tyldum
Jim, however, has woken up unexpectedly about 90 years too soon. Which, as you might imagine, is quite a dilemma.
Discovering that the only other person awake on the ship isn’t a person after all but an android bartender named Arthur (Michael Sheen), Jim is horrified at the prospect of dying alone aboard a ship with no potential help or rescue to be had. That is, however, he discovers the presence of Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), a writer from New York who was planning to travel to Homestead II for a year, hibernate, and return to earth to write about her experience after all her friends and family are long gone. There’s just one small problem that may complicate Aurora’s plans …
She’s awake now, too – and neither she nor Jim have any idea how to get back to sleep.
SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? “Imagine the movie Gravity with less eye-popping visual, a romantic plot and more upbeat tone.” – That would be the bare-bones way one could summarize Passengers for someone interested in getting a general feel for the film, one which aspires to be inspirational with a “live in the moment message.”
Problem is, it’s final moments kind or blur that message while giving one of that essentially feels like the filmmakers giving in to something familiar and safe to wrap things up.
Pratt, like Lawrence, does an acceptable job in his role as a man facing a serious prospect of dying and dying alone once he awakens far too early on his journey. Unfortunately, the depth of that harrowing experience is offset with montages of general “woe is me” platitudes and conversations with a delightfully glib Michael Sheen. Keep in mind of course that you know what he is going to do about three scenes before he does at every turn and much of the build up that should be building in Passengers often fails to have more than an expected “and here we are” finish. Instead of building, many scenes feel like they are plateauing – a notion that will take away from one’s potential enjoyment. Much the same can be said for Lawrence’s character, which plays out more as a damsel in distress and the force that drives Pratt’s character to mature (and not in a vice-versa, mutual sense). Saying too much about Fishburne’s role would be to give away too much of a story where there is not much to dive too deeply into; all you need to know is that he serves a very specific – and convenient – purpose (a purpose which drove a fellow critic friend hilarious up a proverbial wall at the screening, mind you).Conveniences such as Fishburne’s role are the other major knock on Passengers attempt at smooth sailing, for there are just many things that seem and/or are illogical even in the world in which the film exists. (EVERYONE aboard the ship is asleep?! Not one person was kept awake with the option of going on a shift with another hibernating crew member? The ship is supposed to be this perfect that NOTHING could go wrong? Ever?!) Again, these aren’t enough to completely throw the film off course (pun intended), but they are enough to make one take pause.
But if you’re looking for a movie with two pretty people trying to deliver an inspirational romantic drama, you could do worse than to hitch a ride with Passengers.