Film review: Passengers

I was in two minds about seeing this because I wasn’t sure it was going to be my sort of thing. Had a spare evening though, so I thought why not? The good news is that I wasn’t all that disappointed. Yup, it’s an okay film.

Travelling in a huge starship on his way to a new home and a new life, one passenger (played by Chris Pratt) finds himself awoken ninety years too early by a ship malfunction. Another passenger (Jennifer Lawrence) is also woken up, and so the two of them, alone, falling in love, and in a race against time to repair the ship and save the lives of the other five thousand sleeping passengers.

passengers.jpg

Okay, that’s the plot; sounds simple, but I can’t say too much else without giving the whole thing away. Chris Pratt, in a rare non-comedy role is surprisingly good as the distressed mechanic, and Jennifer Lawrence is… well, surprisingly passable as an even-more distressed writer (trust me, she has good reason) facing a life of total isolation. Both of them, however, were in danger of being outclassed by Michael Sheen, even though he was playing an android bartender with a very limited AI and oddly narrow range of movement.

The design of the ship (inside and out) was simply stunning, and the special effects were top notch. I liked the film a lot, but perhaps not as much as I wanted to. Unfortunately, to tell you why I’m going to have to spoil it for you, so do not read any further if you haven’t seen it yet!

Okay?

Are you sure?

Last warning!

Alrighty then…

Okay, for me, I think there some elements of the movie that stretched things too far to make the plot work. Yes, I know it’s science-fiction, which does involve a certain amount of belief suspension, but I think even then, stuff has to be logical, even if it is currently impossible. Case in point:

They can’t what??

Spoiler Alert!
The hibernation pods can only keep you asleep. If you wake up then you stay awake; the pods can’t be used to put you back to sleep. I had a real problem with this that niggled at me throughout the movie. That is the worst design decision in the history of interstellar travel. What happens if there is a shipwide emergency (oh, hang on – there was!) and you have to wake up some of the crew? Does that mean that they can’t get back to sleep once they’ve fixed the problem? No, I couldn’t get my head around that, and it got worse when I found out that there was a medical hiberation pod that actually could put people back to sleep! Why not build that into the other five thousand pods?

She did what??

Spoiler Alert!
She forgave him. Having found out that the mechanic had actually woken her up early because he was a little bit mad after a year on his own, she not only forgave him, she decided to spend the rest of her life alone with him on a ghost ship. Whut? Okay, it’s possible, but think about it. Thanks to him, she is doomed to spend the rest of her life alone – with him – on a starship.  Not only that, when he does offer her the chance to return to hibernation, she decides to stay awake with him for the rest of their lives. I don’t think the film had the length or breadth to convey the level of devotion between the two main characters. It was a nice idea, but I wasn’t really convinced, and that’s why I’m going to be a little bit mean and give it

six out of ten.

 

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