With little knowledge of what to expect other than for Passengers to be a Sci-Fi love story between Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence whose characters are awaken waaay too early in their 90 years hibernation on board a generation ship bound for a new planet, I looked up Rotten Tomatoes just before I head into the cinema – 32% critics / 68% audience.
‘Man… it’s gonna be a bore,’ I thought, but somehow, somewhere in me, I felt a force that told me that it wouldn’t be that bad.
And I’m super glad to report that it really wasn’t! 😀
Pratt and Lawrence were superb. Their chemistry undeniable. Even when they didn’t have a line of dialogue to exchange, their expressions were enough to tell the tale. Pratt deserves recognition for the first quarter of the film as he showed a side of him we hadn’t seen on screen – imagine Tom Hanks in Cast Away.
The Avalon, the generation ship the story takes place on, is simply gorgeous.
*** Some spoilers ahead.***
As for the film itself, Passengers is the kind which would’ve fared better if it given 30 more minutes to flourish, or figured what it wanted to be – Sci-fi adventure or survival or love story.
It starts of as a lone survivor movie which brings up interesting moral questions given the awful situation Pratt’s character finds himself in. Then, by amplifying Pratt’s struggles, it introduces Lawrence’s character, which turns the film into a feel good lovey dovey where boy meets girl. They fall out of love and through extraordinary spacey circumstances, they save the day and fall back in love.
Their reason for falling out of love is because Pratt made a conscious decision to wake Lawrence from hibernation, essentially dooming her to 90 years of space travel. This could’ve been the driving force of the film but it wasn’t given the room to be fully explored. It is really a tragic waste as not many settings can provide a platform for such a controversial / intriguing topic.
Instead, more than half of the showtime is devoted to their characters falling in love before a haphazard action sequence which sees both of them overcoming their breakup to save the entire generation ship against all odds in typical Hollywood deus ex machina.
It actually isn’t a bad thing as the action and its reason for being is pretty good, but because most of the screen time was spent with Lawrence and Pratt falling in love, the action scenes jump from problem to solution too quickly, resulting in an unsatisfying climax and end.
Here’s the thing, I still enjoyed the show despite these gripes. And I actually want it to be good because it’s almost there. Passengers could’ve been a captivating survival movie, an incredible love story, even the hard Sci-fi adventure of our time, but it doesn’t know which it is, resulting in an entertaining movie that’s a too scattered for just 2 hours.
A wide smile with a comfortable dimple.