Review: PASSENGERS (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Review: PASSENGERS (2016)

Review: PASSENGERS (2016)

When a malfunction aboard the Starship Avalon spaceship en route to the colony world of Homestead II accidentally awakens Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) from his 120-year hibernation sleep, he finds himself all alone. To make things worst, he is 90 years too early. His only companion is an android bartender named Arthur (Michael Sheen). As time go by, Jim starts to feel increasingly lonely and depressed until one day, he falls in love with Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence). Soon, he did the unthinkable by tampering her sleep pod in order to be with her.


REVIEW: There are two things in PASSENGERS that caught my attention: the first onscreen pair-up of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, and the high-concept premise appropriately dubbed as "TITANIC in space". Besides, with the acclaimed Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (best known for his 2014's Oscar-nominated WWII spy thriller THE IMITATION GAME) stepping up to helm his first big-budget studio feature, it looks almost certain that PASSENGERS is going to be a surefire sci-fi hit.

In fact, the movie actually got off to a promising start. We begin with Jim waking up 90 years too early from his cryogenic sleep on a huge spaceship with no living human in sight, except for the android bartender played by Michael Sheen. During this early stretch, Pratt is basically a one-man show here and he succeeds in bringing his usual likeable charm to his lonely character.

Review: PASSENGERS (2016)

Then came Jennifer Lawrence, where she and Pratt are fine enough as two attractive lovers. For the first hour or so, it looks as if the movie is heading to a right direction. It would be even more interesting to see the story explores deeply to Jim's wrongdoing and eventual guilt of waking up Aurora from her cryogenic sleep because of his selfishness.

But once Aurora finds out the truth about Jim, Jon Spaihts' screenplay botches the potential by dumbing down the conflict of their love relationship. Soon, everything got distracted with the story's tonal shift from a love story to a typical "save-the-spaceship" scenario. While the scene where Aurora struggling in a pool during a zero-gravity moment is visually captivating, most of the action here are routinely staged that lacks excitement and genuine tension. Even the inclusion of Laurence Fishburne midway in the movie as one of the spaceship's crew members is largely neglected to an underappreciated role. If that's not insulting enough, the movie reduces Andy Garcia's role as the captain of the spaceship to a blink-or-you-will-miss cameo appearance. The only supporting actor worth mentioning here is Michael Sheen, who gives a solid yet convincing role as the android bartender Arthur.

PASSENGERS got off to a promising start while the attractive pairing of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence is instantly likeable, but the movie gradually loses steam as it stretches further.

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