The spaceship, Starship Avalon, in its 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet known as the “Homestead Colony” and transporting 5,258 people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result one hibernation pod opens prematurely and the one person that awakes, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is stranded on the spaceship, still 90 years from his destination.
Ya, we all know this sounds like a friggin Robinsonade, and we all know what Robinson needs first, right? Yeah, despite a lack of cannibals and suffering from any hardship, our Robinson, Jim Preston, needs a Friday. And for total convenience he needs a fuckbuddy, so he wakes up another passenger, the hapless sleeping beauty Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). With such a silly scifi-ish name she totally deserves to spend the rest of her life with horny Preston and being robbed of her future on the new planet, right?
See, here we have a conflict of conscience, a rape, a murder, coldblooded egoism, some real drama. For me it’s the core of the whole movie. But Passengers more or less just glosses over it. Fukn hysterical girl needs to get a grip, ffs. Or what? Really?
Why am I putting so much emphasis on this aspect of the story? Because apart from that there isn’t much else going on. Really not. Not at first, as the cascade of malfunctions starts slowly, very slowly. In a fully automated giant starship with all amenities working on their relationship is all that’s there to do for Jim and Aurora. Too bad there is no chemistry between Lawrence and Pratt, so all the romance, all the love and hate appears stale, sterile and flat.
Not even Laurence Fishburne, as a much needed deck officer when the starship cascades into a giant malfunction, can save the movie from a great catastrophe. With a screen/life-time of maybe 10 minutes he couldn’t bring in the needed presence of a third character. Although Michael Sheen as bartending android Arthur is doing his best he’s of course not a real human being, so we can’t count on him to have any sort of influence.
So what we’re left with is just the hapless duo of Lawrence/Pratt, unconvincingly bumbling through their scenes and boring us to tears. The first part of the movie, when our Robinson/Preston was all alone, was better than everything that followed after he woke up Aurora. This kinda reminded us on Moon, a whole movie carried by Sam Rockwell all on his lonesome. Of course Passengers can’t compete in any way.
Maybe JLaw could carry a movie all by herself, as actress she’s clearly better and has more bandwith than Pratt. But again, stupid screenplay made her character so badly written and non-consequntial, she had no option to shine in this flick but was reduced to a cues-giver for Pratt.
The “filmography” is due to CGI really great. The computer technology must have made quantum leaps in the last couple years, so the CGI teams are not just capable of doing nifty animation now but they manage to produce really great impressive images. From an optic point of view I must admit passengers was a very beautiful film.
CONCLUSION: Maybe a stupid analogy but Passengers fails for the same reason Moana did. Only 2 people – with no chemistry to make it worse – aren’t enough to carry a whole movie if the screenplay is as weak as Passengers’s.
WATCH IT? You might but don’t expect too much in any way. Passengers falls flat as a scifi movie and as a romance. But the CGI is really really good, if that’s what you’re after.
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