Genre: Sci-Fi Action/Thriller
Director: Morten Tyldum
Running Time: 116 minutes
Main Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen
Passengers takes us on a journey with some highs and lows during the narrative, but also some positives and negatives with the film overall.The narrative focuses on Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), two passengers aboard the Homestead starship Avalon on its 120-year journey to a colony planet called Homestead II. The two passengers are alone except for an android bartender (Michael Sheen) to provide the passengers a way to express their feelings. But the ship malfunctions and they are awoken from their hibernation 90 years early. Soon the whole ship begins to malfunction and Jim and Aurora must work out why it is malfunctioning and stop the ship from destroying, killing the thousands of other passengers on board the Avalon.
There are two positives to come out of this film, the obvious chemistry between Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence and the way the film looks. The film injects a love story to add to the narrative and help drive it through the first half of the film. This is where the chemistry between Pratt and Lawrence really shines through, as it is easy to see the relationship progress and the two characters become comfortable with each other, which is a reflection of the relationship between Pratt and Lawrence. This chemistry allows this weak narrative driver to work.
The production design for this film is truly out of this world, throwing us into a future that may not be too far away, as the ideas of colonies on planets such as Mars are discussed in today’s society. The set design looks stunning and is complimented by director Morten Tyldum, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, the simplistic editing of Maryann Brandon and the subtle diegetic score of Thomas Newman. All these factors combine and the film is aesthetically pleasing.
But Passengers isn’t without its negatives with the narrative being the films major flaw. The narrative is slow to begin with and never really picks its pace up throughout the film, even during the action sequences as the plot thickens during the transition from the second to the third act. Often at times it also feels cliché and predictable, and many times during the film you are able to pick exactly what would happen. The love story is the only thing that kept me interested during the majority of the film, as I reached out and hoped everything would work out for Jim and Aurora. But a sci-fi action/thriller narrative should not have to rely on a love story to drive and continue to drive its narrative, Passengers needed the action or thriller genres to shine through, not the romance.
Overall Passengers is well constructed, with great casting of Pratt and Lawrence and a production team that allows the film to shine among its star filled backdrops, but its weak narrative doesn’t bring its quality up from good to great.
The Front Row Opinion