Movie Review: Passengers (2016)
Sometimes on the weekend after Thanksgiving, one does not have the energy to make a second trip to the theaters. On those days, we decide to review a movie that we never got around to seeing during its theatrical release. With that said, today we are visiting the science fiction film Passengers, one of our Black Friday movie purchases. The film is led by Chris Pratt as mechanical engineer Jim Preston and Jennifer Lawrence as author Aurora Lane. The small supporting cast is also comprised of Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne.
The movie begins with the spaceship Avalon, which contains 258 crew members and 5,000 colonists, experiencing some malfunctions after traveling through an astroid field. The malfunction awakens mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Pratt) from his hibernation pod ninety years early from their destination of Homestead II. Preston attempts for some time to find help and fix his hibernation pod, but all of his endeavors are fruitless. He befriends the bartender, an android named Arthur (Sheen), and he attempts to enjoy his time on the ship. His loneliness is deep but is stifled by the awakening of Aurora Lane (Lawrence). While they come to enjoy each other’s company despite their dire situation, another problem is brewing in the background as malfunctions on the ship continue to expand.
So, one of the reasons we never saw this movie in theaters is because the reviews were less than stellar, and there are always a lot of movies to see in December. However, in my opinion, this film was mostly enjoyable to watch. I liked the premise from the beginning, and I am a fan of films with a degree of science fiction. The design of the spaceship and the sequences set in space were actually fairly good, and some of the questions that are asked by these characters are deep and thought-provoking. The best part about this movie, though, is the two leads. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are pretty fantastic together, and their chemistry make the stories of these two characters believable.
However, not everything can be redeemed by Pratt and Lawrence’s presence. The story is fairly predictable in the way it plays out, and with some slight revisions to the story and some of the reveals, this story could have had a decent level of suspense to it. Also, while I can suspend some believability for a story set in the future with this kind of technology, the ending took it a little too far. I do not want to spoil the events at the end, but to wrap it up in a nutshell, there are some conditions that humans cannot survive, and our biology cannot be ignored that overtly. Truly, it’s the last twenty to thirty minutes of the film that ruined the enjoyability of the film for me.
Despite its flaws, I did appreciate the plight of the characters and their dilemmas throughout the story. They each grapple with the consequences of waking up far too early from their destination and facing death before they reach Homestead II. They also personally must face their motivations that led them to leave their friends and family behind on Earth. I immensely enjoyed that aspect of the film, and once again, Pratt and Lawrence’s portrayal of those individual struggles is great. However, a terribly unbelievable ending and its predictability make this flick more forgettable and less impactful than it should be. Overall, I would say that Passengers is a fun Redbox rental for a Friday night, but I’m glad that I did not spend the money to see it in the theater last December.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.