How do I say this without sounding too harsh? I love Chris Pratt and like Jennifer Lawrence and think they are two fabulous actors but I hated — just hated Passengers. It was a major disappointment from start to finish and didn’t deliver on anything it set out to do. Seriously.
Synopsis: 5,000 passengers and over 200 crew members are on board the spaceship Avalon headed for colony planet Homestead II. They’re supposed to reach their destination in 120 years but because of an asteroid crash, mechanic Jim Preston’s (Chris Pratt) hibernation pod malfunctions and he is woken up 90 years before he is set to arrive to his destination. Plagued with loneliness, he wakes up fellow passenger Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) a year after and the two stranded souls form a romantic relationship. But things start to go awry when they discover critical damage to the ship that threatens the safety of all its passengers.
Now, on paper, Passenger’s premise sounds quite exciting. I was fully expecting it to be exciting despite the fact that there were only two people and one android involved in the movie. I was fully counting on the major crisis to liven up the pace, if at all but I was so wrong. The film does try to pick up its pace 3/4th into the movie but first, you’ll have to get through the first three quarters without falling asleep for you to even see it — better yet judge it.
The reason? The majority of the film revolved around Jim’s loneliness, establishing his relationship with Aurora and then springing the crisis on them just about the same time they were going through their personal issues. There was no gradual development of the crisis save for a couple of shots showing errors in the system. It felt hollow all throughout and felt like watching a watered down version of every sci fi movie movie in space.
The only thing I liked about the movie was the character of Jim, who wore his heart on his sleeve. He was the only character I felt sympathy over, given that he was the first victim of the malfunction. I felt it would have been better if he had ended up dead instead of with Aurora, who didn’t seem at all fun or likeable in the first place. I do get that she was mad at Jim for doing the thing he did but come on. He was the only other person awake and on board and knew he wasn’t a bad person per se for her to persecute him that way.
But I think more than anything, the film’s biggest sin was falling into the trap of the cliche. It employed everything in the book about how a sci fi movie set in space should play out but did it with tons of cheesiness that everything felt mechanical. There was no room for Chris Pratt or Jennifer Lawrence to show their personalities into their roles because everything proceeded at a straightforward pace. Even the ending seemed too good to be true — forced even. I’m really not against happy endings but really? Seriously?
All in all, I do not think that its excessive to say that this film was a major downer — lacking in heart, lacking in pizzaz, lacking in everything that would make it extraordinary. It was, at the end of the day, a snoozefest — the kindest description I could think of.