Passengers, the latest film from director Morten Tyldum is out this week, and it stars global superstars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, and it has been tipped as Titanic in space. Passengers open’s with Jim Preston (Pratt) waking from his hibernation on the way to Homestead II a colony so far from Earth it takes 120 years to travel there. Jim moves around the ship called Avalon when he realises in horror that he’s been woken up 90 years early due to a system malfunction in his pod.
After spending a year alone with only the ship’s cybernetic bartender, Arthur (Michael Sheen) as company Jim one day comes across a hibernation pod inhabited by Aurora Lane (Lawrence). Becoming bewitched by this sleeping beauty Jim learns everything about her and he makes a morally dubious decision.
Passengers is a disappointing film; that is the main takeaway from this sci-fi melodrama. Between the creepy undertones, the plain Jane CGI, and the overlong narrative there is little here to enjoy. What there is to enjoy is Jim Preston’s journey especially during the first forty minutes where you will see Pratt at his best. His turmoil of being alone on the Avalon is genuinely engaging due to how well Pratt sells the struggles Jim is going through. You feel the desperation as he wrestles with some of the decisions he makes in the film. When Aurora enters you get to see a new perspective on the loneliness these two characters have to deal with, Lawrence is far more emotive than Pratt who goes for the internal rage while Lawrence screams herself hoarse out of frustration. Their chemistry grows, and the inevitable happens when you have two extremely attractive people trapped together love blossoms and it works.
That’s all the positives for Passengers, though, the CGI is nothing noteworthy, the designs are suitably futuristic, but nothing has character to it. The best description would be that Passengers feels like the Star Wars prequel trilogy, everything is clean and apparently, science fiction themed but it doesn’t matter because they don’t engage you visually.
On top of that, the third act of the film takes a tonal shift and loses a lot of the emotional weight that the small cast has earned in the first two-thirds of the film. This makes Passengers not one but two films, and the second film is mostly inferior to the first.
When I went into Passengers I hoped for Ex Machina in space. Instead, I got Lost in Space. The first third of Passengers is a thought-provoking, entertaining film that could have gone somewhere satisfying, instead, it goes from a water downed Titanic to yet another action-centric space adventure.