Posted Dec 20 2016

Passengers - This Movie Doesn't Quite Space Rocks

Dir: Morten Tyldum

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia

OK, so here’s the deal with Passengers (and are we the only ones who find it odd that they’re choosing to release a big budget science fiction movie five days after Rogue One?)

First up – great premise, well executed – Pratt’s everyman engineer finds himself in last-man-not-on earth territory as the only one of 5,000 passengers to wake up a mere thirty years into a 120 year journey to a new world. Unable to reset his cryogenic pod, he now faces the rest of his life alone aboard a huge spaceship (beautifully designed by the always inventive Guy Hendrix Dyas), with only Michael Sheen’s robot bar-tender for company. He subsequently spends the next year growing a large beard, walking around naked and drinking a hell of a lot. You know, as you do.

Secondly, it then lands us in a huge ethical quandary, with the unexpected awakening of another passenger, in the form of the delectable Ms. Lawrence, someone who had this been the Titanic (and at times it feels like it wants to be) would definitely be from the upper decks as opposed to Pratt’s man from the future-space equivalent of steerage. The issues thrown up by the unexpected “arrival” of Lawrence are complex and lend the film a depth that it handles well. There has been some talk in early reviews about the lack of chemistry between its two fine-looking leads, but there is chemistry here, it’s just at times cautious and restrained, this is after all a courtship, not an instant romance.

Then, thirdly, the film leaps with a huge bound away from all the complexities and questions it seeks to raise, and the third act becomes a bit of a dud of an all out action movie, that loses just about all the goodwill the early parts of the movie has engendered. Laurence Fishburne shows up (if only for a little while) to explain why both he and the ship are dying, things blow up, gravity is lost (alongside gravitas) and director Tydum takes what was once interesting and wraps it all up in a big pile of generic.

So, good cast, nice early moments, then as the ship starts to explode so does the film as a whole. Still, if nothing else, it does convince that every bar should have a robot Michael Sheen. 

Passengers new poster


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