Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Movie Review: Passengers
A while ago, I read a book called Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and Passengers sounded very similar to the novel: two people on a spaceship wake up too soon ... 90 years too soon, to be exact. It turns out that the script for Passengers has actually been floating around for a longer time than Across the Universe has been published, but regardless, it made me want to see the movie, to compare the two.
Engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is a passenger on the Avalon, which is headed for Homestead II - a new colony planet. It will take the ship 120 years to reach the planet, and the ship is only 30 years into that journey when it hits an asteroid or meteor of some kind; Jim's hibernation pod malfunctions, and it awakens him. He figures out that he woke up 90 years too soon, and he spends the next year on the ship by himself, trying to break into the captain's area of the ship and also figure out how to put himself back into hibernation. However, soon he has another passenger who is awake: Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), a writer from New York, whose goal was to spend a year on Homestead II and then head back to Earth to write about it. When the ship starts to deeply malfunction, putting all 5,000+ hibernating passengers and crew members at risk, the two must work together to try to fix the ship.
I tried to keep the above synopsis spoiler-free, but I read EW.com's review of Passengers before I saw it, which was definitely not spoiler-free (click here to read it, at your own risk). EW gave the movie a D+ review, which in my opinion is rather harsh. Without giving spoilers, some of Preston's decisions are rather ... sketchy, shall we say ... but the movie does explain why he does what he does, even though eventually Lane finds out and is extremely angry at him. EW's review also complains that Lawrence's character relies on him to try to fix the ship, at the end, but think about it - she was a writer, back on Earth, and he was an engineer. Who, then, would have the most technical experience?
Yes, see this movie. It's not one you'll think about much after the movie ends (it's an ideal "popcorn" movie) but I usually love films that take place in space, and the special effects in this one were great as well. Some of the dialogue is a little awkward/cheesy, I will admit, but Pratt and Lawrence do well with what they are given. Laurence Fishburne also has a small part in this movie, near the end, and he does well in his role too. The film has 31% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing, but this is a case where the critics are not always right, and sometimes can't appreciate a good popcorn movie when they see one.
Passengers is in theaters today, December 21st, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 116 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.