“Passengers” stars Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, and Andy Garcia. Released on December 21, 2016, the film is about a mechanical engineer who woke up 90 years early due to a malfunction on a starship.
The film is directed by Morten Tyldum, who also directed Buddy, Fallen Angels, Headhunters, and The Imitation Game. I don’t really get into romance films that much. Unless they have something like vampires, werewolves, or even space travel, then I would consider taking a good look at them. This has been on my radar for quite some time, mostly because of the two main actors and the film’s director. I really liked Tyldum’s last film, The Imitation Game, so I was hoping that he can pull off another win with this one. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I was expected.
Let me start off with a couple of things that I enjoyed out of this film. The chemistry between Pratt and Lawrence were a delight to watch. As soon as they’re on screen together, their talents just pulled me right into the film. Michael Sheen portrays a robot bartender named Arthur, who not only served the main characters drinks very often throughout the film, but also provided some comic relief. I thought they did a nice job at balancing this type of character without making him too distracting or annoying. Another thing that I liked was the visuals. The entire film takes place in a spaceship known as the Avalon and, for the most part, the interior of the ship was very creative. It’s like a combination between a hotel and a mall. With all the fancy futuristic stuff that they had, it made me wish that I was in that spaceship as well. The outside part of the ship, however, served as the best thing about the film’s visuals because of how vast and lonely space can be, and it looks beautiful. Sadly, the film’s story didn’t reach that same potential as its visuals. I liked the concept and the idea of expressing the sense of loneliness in the first act, mostly from Jim Preston (Pratt), but as soon as the film went on, it slowly started to underwhelm. It offered some mediocre romantic fare between the main characters, which I also found enjoyable to watch. There were also times where the film rushes from one scene to the next, causing itself to lose certain qualities that I was looking for, including the emotional depth around the characters. There was this one scene that could’ve been added in to enhance the relationship between Jim and Arthur, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.
Overall, despite the enjoyable chemistry between the two main stars and its beautiful visuals, “Passengers” suffers from too many malfunctions. It had a good concept, but the story’s depth just wasn’t there. This is one of those films that offered more beauty on the style and less oomph on the substance. It’s worth seeing for the two actors alone, but everything else won’t be enough to make you want to see it twice.