Passengers (2016)

It is the future. Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), a passenger on the spaceship Avalon, wakes up from his sleep pod. The ship is on a 120 year journey to a colonisation planet called Homestead 2. The Avalon is a state-of-the-art sleep ship with 5000 passengers in a state of suspended animation. Jim’s pod has malfunctioned and he has woken 90 years early. The pod is constructed to keep Jim asleep, but not to put him back under if he wakes up. As the ship’s computer explains to him, it is impossible for a sleep pod to malfunction. There are no protocols for this eventuality. All the ship’s technicians are also in a hyper-sleep state and locked away in high security quarters. Everyone but Jim and a robot bartender (Michael Sheen) is asleep for the next 90 years. He is stranded in what amounts to a resort hotel in space. He has food, a pool, exercise equipment, entertainment; everything except human companionship.

PASSENGERS has a great premise. Does Jim just die alone on a ship with 5000 souls who are untouchable and unreachable as far as he is concerned? They have all paid their money to become a colonist 90 years in the future. They are as good as dead to Jim, as he is to them.

Eventually, Jim is joined by another passenger, Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) And here, you might find the story engaging and be all-in with the growing relationship of these two attractive space colonists of the future or you might not be happy with the way the story turns. If you saw the trailer to PASSENGERS and thought of it as a romance and a sci-fi adventure, then it isn’t that straight forward.

Director Morten Tyldum‘s film is shot on great sets and has seamless special effects. Pratt and Lawrence are solid. The screenplay by Jon Spaihts needed more development because the story sets up a moral dilemma and then never sufficiently deals with it. For viewers not concerned with this aspect of storytelling, PASSENGERS is a slickly made movie with A-list stars, preposterous action and an overly sentimental conclusion.

USA | 116 minutes (5/10)