It takes a daring film to go up against a Star Wars film, but that’s just what Passengers did. Rogue One and Passengers hit theatres around the same time, and as sci-fi movies they were competition. Unfortunately, while the trailer looked like an interesting sci-fi thriller, the movie spends a lot of time doing nothing and I was left wondering when I was going to see the movie the trailers promised.
Passengers tells the story of how humans have created a new colony planet to escape the dingy and sad mess we’ve turned Earth into. To get to this new colony, ships are sent carrying thousands of people in deep sleep to their new home. But when there’s a malfunction, two passengers are awakened from their sleep chambers 90 years early. How could this happen? And what can they do to ensure they survive the voyage?
“You can’t get so hung up on where you’d rather be, that you forget to make the most of where you are.”
I wish I could say this turned out to be the thrilling sci-fi film it claimed to be, but Passengers really disappointed me. The pacing of this film is so, so slow. All the action we see in the trailer is really reserved for the final scenes. Everything else is just a rather dull build up to that. Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is woken up after his sleep chamber malfunctions due to a collision with some asteroids. He spends his days trying to get back to sleep with no success. And when the loneliness starts to get to him, he finds the sleeping Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). Wow, that character name isn’t subtle. Instead of waking her up with a kiss, he believes he’s fallen in love with her and that it would be wonderful if she woke up too. Their romance poses a moral dilemma: was it right to wake her up just so he wouldn’t be lonely? The problem is, if he tells her he did that, she’d be pissed. So he hides the truth, and they get increasingly close to one another for a time. The biggest problem, however, is that the ship is having more and more malfunctions, and they’re the only ones who can save everyone on board. But to do so they must put themselves in danger. And that’s where the action scenes come in. Yes, they’re tense and well done, but we saw most of the action scenes already in the trailer.
The last actors we’d expect to play a couple are Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Both are known for being goofy, and while they’ve tackled serious roles before something about their dynamic on screen just felt a little too forced. Their acting when they’re in love with each other is perhaps the weakest. It just doesn’t quite seem to work. However, Lawrence does a fantastic job portraying Aurora’s anger and pain over being awoken by Jim. One of the only other actors we see is Laurence Fishburn as Gus Mancuso, one of the staff on the ship who is awoken as well. It’s a shame he’s a fleeting presence because he added another facet to the film to help move the plot forward.
“We have to go back to sleep.”
I’m not often disappointed by the films I decide to see, but Passengers just did not impress me. The story is slow and awkward, and I’m not sure how I feel about the moral dilemma the movie poses. Yes, the action scenes are well done, but we see most of them in the trailer so there’s very little to surprise viewers. Aside from the weak writing, the acting just isn’t as good as it could be in terms of the romance. Definitely skip Passengers and just see Rogue One.
My Rating: 4/10