Passengers is set on the spaceship ‘Starship Avalon’ in the 30th year into its 120 year journey. The ship is carrying 5000 passengers and crew – all hibernating in sleep chambers – towards a distant colony planet known as ‘The Homestead Colony’. However a malfunction on the ship means that one of the sleep chambers opens, waking its occupant, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), 90 years too early. On realising the problem Jim sets out to try and put himself back to sleep, but eventually accepts that this will not be a possibility. After a year alone Jim stumbles across the sleeping body of Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), he is instantly taken by her beauty and after finding video clips and her writing work on the ships database, he falls in love. Jim then faces the dilemma of whether to wake her up in order to have company with someone who is potentially the love of his life – but in the process condemning her to live out the rest of her life on the ship – or leaving her alone and spending the rest of his life on the ship by himself. Ultimately Jim can’t resist meeting her, but he hides the truth of her waking, making out it was an accident like his. The film then follows the two of them as they fall in love but after another year it’s soon clear that the ship is experiencing more and more malfunctions. Jim and Aurora must work out the cause of these malfunctions before it is too late and everyone on the ship dies.
Released back in December, Passengers was tipped as one of the years most anticipated films, however it did not go down well with critics. Sold as a sci-fi film, I think people were expecting something more along the lines of Star Wars with a complex space/time plot, instead of the romantic adventure film that it actually is. Yes it’s set on a spaceship but in reality the film isn’t really all that much about space! Instead it’s very much a
beautiful story about two lovers trying to survive alone together with the knowledge that they will live out their whole lives on that ship. It’s about the lengths and risks people will take to meet and be with the loves of their lives whatever the consequences.
Fronted by two incredible actors, Passengers hits you emotionally, romantically and even throws in a few bits of genuine humour! Chris Pratt is just as gorgeous as ever and you will completely and utterly fall in love with his portrayal of Jim. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence matches his acting skills giving us another brilliant character in Aurora, the two together work perfectly and the chemistry between Jim and Aurora is totally believable. From the moment Jim comes across and falls in love with Aurora you are rooting for the two to get together – and when they do we are treated to a lot of shots of Chris’ naked body..! (Jennifer’s too, if that is what you prefer!). As their characters are the only ones awake on the ship the whole film is carried by Chris and Jennifer, and to be honest I don’t think you really need anyone else as they are such great actors you don’t even notice the lack of other people. Saying that, there is one other character in the robot Arthur (Michael Sheen) who runs the bar and gives a lot of the humour as when initially alone on the ship Jim tries to connect with him on a human level. Michael Sheen is brilliant as Arthur, he gives off a stiffness in his movements very much like that of a robot and delivers his lines so effectively whether they’re comedic or thought-provoking.
Visually, Passengers is stunning, from the vast shots showing ‘space’ as the ship travels, to the more personal close-up emotional scenes from Chris and Jennifer. There are some fantastic special effects throughout, particularly one scene in which Aurora is swimming in the pool and there is a loss of gravity resulting in the water trapping Aurora into a kind of bubble as it moves around the now gravity free room. The setting of the ship is very futuristic due to the look of the place and its many gadgets within the ship, but that and the fact it’s set in space is ultimately all that makes it a sci-fi film.
Overall, like a lot of other people, Passengers wasn’t the film I was expecting, but in my case I was very glad of that. For actually, I really loved this film. It’s the perfect romantic film and Chris and Jennifer – two actors I already loved – made this completely irresistible to watch. Their connection is so real and raw that you go with them as they face the many obstacles put in their path, whether that’s physically, emotionally or romantically. It’s a shame that it wasn’t promoted in the right way as I feel it didn’t receive the praise it should have done.Everything from the actors to the visuals really makes this film a great watch and one I would definitely recommend!