Movie Review – Passengers


When the movie Passengers first came out in December 2016, it was seen as a long-anticipated combination between science-fiction and the romance genre. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, herself a winner of the Oscar in 2013, and Chris Pratt, Passengers promised to be of thorough cinematic quality. The starship Avalon is transporting 5000 colonist in hibernation to the planet Homestead II, a journey taking 120 years. Despite a promising storyline however, the actual plot becomes flat, lacking emotional depth and failing to develop a sincere connection between the audience and the characters.

     The nature of the storyline implies dystopia; Jim (Chris Pratt) fails to remain in hibernation, and wakes up 90 years too early. Contemplating suicide, Jim, ultimately chooses to awake Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence), hoping to find in her a companion and claiming that her hibernation mechanism must have failed as well. Thus, the producers are able to integrate a romantic element into the rather cold science-fiction plot. Jim and Aurora undergoes a period of mutual emotional rapprochement. Discovering errors on the spaceship, the two ultimately realise that the mission is doomed to fail, with only them left to repair the damages on board. At times thus, Passengers impresses with emotional and expressive images, depicted through truly impressive special effects, such as an extended scene in the zero-gravity swimming pool.

    Passengers however, often seem like a missed opportunity. Whatever redemptive, heroic act Jim commits, to the audience he remains the deceitful, immoral, character, who awoke his female counterpart out of pure lust and frustration. Perhaps if Aurora’s hibernation would have failed like Jim’s, then the audience would not find itself in a moral dilemma. Passengers, so it appears, attempts to make the audience forget about its unpleasant start, its gruesome central character and its inherit immorality. Jim’s alleged natural decency, his ambition to save the space mission, all that stands in such sharp juxtaposition to his aforementioned cruelty, that the movie becomes inevitably preposterous. Lawrence, by contrast, maintains much of her cinematic charisma and remains a radiant character. The movie is at times truly climatic, with moments separating the characters from life and death, forced to save the mission by finding a solution to the seemingly irreparable engine. Here, another weakness of the storyline is revealed; Pratt unfortunately fails to convey emotional decency, often seeming static and overly rational. Ultimately, Passengers, despite strong images, fails to develop a convincing storyline, a faulty premise that cannot even be saved by Jennifer Lawrence.