A romantic sci-fi hybrid missing a kick.
One has to wonder why advertising for Passengers seems to be everywhere at the moment. Perhaps it’s to keep it in people’s heads following Rogue One, or maybe, it’s because there are fears over whether the movie is actually good. Critics have had their say, and generally it’s been negative. But Passengers isn’t deserving of the hiding it’s getting.
The plot is difficult to delve into without spoilers so to give a brief summary: when a huge spaceship, called the Avalon, carrying 5000 people to a new planet malfunctions, two people are woken from their hibernation pods – 90 years early.
Starring are Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, two of the most popular young actors in Hollywood. Their star power carries the film, as well as their undeniable charm. The film denies their authenticity as a real pairing due to this however, never letting you slip into thinking they’re a couple rather than stars.
That being said, their performances throughout are excellent. Pratt’s character is one of conflict for the viewer. Decisions he makes could be considered even despicable, but thanks to Pratt’s likability, we sympathise rather than antagonise. Lawrence draws pity from the audience too, bringing her Oscar-nominated acting chops to the B-movie table, making for an interesting character study at times, but sadly at others the film drifts away into nonsensical space. Michael Sheen’s witty robot bartender thankfully supplies major comic relief compared to our leading couple, easily being the highlight of the entire movie.
Script wise, John Spaiths’ isn’t horrific, but needed a second pair of eyes. A unexpectedly strong start descends into cliches and forced resolutions, cheating us out of any form of proper drama. The dialogue too needed some work, but is reasonable enough not to irritate on a high scale.
The film has one huge, mission critical flaw; a dire lack of gravitas. Why is this film a 12A? Passengers could have been that little bit better if director Morten Tyldum took a leap, but instead sat on the ledge. Imagine seeing the psychological issues they had to go through being alone on the ship – Passengers could have been high-class sci-fi.
There’s still much to enjoy however. As well as Pratt and Lawrence, the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. There’s one particular shot, which you can see in the trailer, of the silhouetted pair looking at a star up close. It’s enchanting and breathtaking, a feeling that contributes to an overall enjoyment that will take over you despite eye-twitching mistakes.
To sum it up…
Many predicted Passengers to be the last big flop of 2016. Whilst it’s likely it’ll be forgotten, it succeeds in being entertaining with Hollywood’s biggest stars at the helm, as well as some truly beautiful sequences.
Rating: No bad
Let us know if you were a fan of Passengers in the comments, tweet us or check out the Facebook page!
Author: Cameron Frew