Passengers (2016, dir. Morten Tyldum) follows two passengers aboard spaceship Avalon on its way to colonise a distant Earth-like planet named Homestead II. Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) are awoken from their induced hibernation 90 years too soon and face the prospect of dying before they will ever see the destination promised to them when they left Earth.
On paper the movie had a lot going for it. Two very talented leads (of whom I am a big fan) in (what I thought would be) a suspenseful and isolated plot setting that has worked on numerous other sci-fi movies before it. Unfortunately, I found the film never really reached its potential and never pulls anything out the bag that sets it out from the crowd.
Although the small cast do a great job with what is given to them, it is hard not to pick flaws with the plot. A few times during my viewing I noticed some glaring plot holes and the plot itself is not complicated. It features a very Hollywood plot from start to finish and yet left a lot to be desired despite its simplicity. I actually feel the movie would have benefited had it took place non-chronologically or utilised suspense and a lack of information fed to the characters and us as the audience to keep us guessing. Rather than being able to see where the movie is heading long before we reach the conclusion. I can’t get into the details as to why I feel this way without spoiling it. But if you find yourself watching it you’ll know what I mean.
Also, with a space setting I feel there is no excuse for the prettiest part of your film to be the cast. Yes I know, Pratt and Lawrence are two of the best looking actors on the planet. Yet there is an endless possibility given the freedom of sci-fi and space to create stunning cinematography. I found the set and costume design to be unimaginative. Maybe because sci-fi has been done to death at this point, but with the scope the genre provides it shouldn’t be a struggle to stand out. It has its more unique moments, I really liked a particular scene involving a swimming pool suffering from zero gravity and the Avalon where most of the film had a great exterior aesthetic. But as a whole not as stunning as The Martian or Alien, both of which know how to portray the isolation of space. Which should have been the angle Passengers pushed towards more.
I certainly don’t think it’s a bad film, just extremely average.