Two passengers of a spaceship are prematurely awoken from their medically induced hibernation. But they soon realize that there’s a ruder awakening in store.
Two strangers, infinite space and 90 years on the clock. If that doesn’t intrigue a sci-fi fan, little else will.
For a time when sci-fi movies are a dime a dozen, Passengers at least gets its plot right. There are no complications of wars between galaxies or superheroes in space. Instead, it’s simply about a man and a woman bound by helplessness and hope.
Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) are two of the 5000 passengers aboard the starship Avalon, headed for an earth-like planet, Homestead II. They’re programmed to hibernate for 120 years in their sleeping pods, but are woken unexpectedly with about 90 years to spare. With no one else but each other and a robotic bartender, Arthur (Michael Sheen) for company, they must either figure out a way to go back to sleep or live out their whole lives on the spaceship as it rips through space.
Pratt’s boyish charm, Lawrence’s goofiness and their banter with the bartender - these are ingredients for greatness. Add to that a plot twist in the beginning that the team have managed to keep under wraps. You’d think it’d be a breath of fresh air!
But Passengers suffocates under the pressure of its own premise. Once everything is set up in the first 25-or-so minutes, the story, just like its protagonists, gets stuck in space with nowhere to go. It digresses, forcing two human characters into becoming heroes, nay, proficient astronauts!
Its dialogue fails it miserably; the lovable characters could have been given smarter lines, but instead, we’re stuck with obvious observations like, “Oh no, I woke up too soon!” Yeah, we know.
Passengers is Hollywood’s answer to the star-studded Bollywood blockbusters of the 70s, where anything and everything could happen because it was happening to big stars on screen. Here too, it’s mostly only Pratt and Lawrence who manage to keep you in your seat.
It’s a great-looking film with an original idea. Watch it for its stars but it won’t have an astronomical impact on you.