Passengers begins thirty years into a 120-year mission to a distant planet in the furthest reaches of space. The 5,000 passengers onboard are all in hibernation, sleeping away until they’re due to arrive, where they’ll be given the opportunity to start a new life on a new planet. Unfortunately, one of the pods malfunctions, and Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) wakes up 90 years too soon. He’s alone on the ship, destined to die there, his only friend being a robot named Arthur (Michael Sheen). That is until Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) wakes up early too…
For the first twenty or so minutes, this film is literally just Chris Pratt trying to survive. He’s the first to wake up, the explanation of which is not a spoiler but I’ll refrain from explaining it. This initial opening is so much fun because I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. It’s got the much-needed emotional weight and sense of urgency, but there’s also a lot of joy and excitement to be found, as one would expect when a film has Chris Pratt in the leading role. It’s expertly paced, things coming to a slowdown just as Aurora wakes up, kicking the plot back into action and creating a new level of investment.
That being said, the later scenes of the film are far from perfect. A shocking reveal jeopardizes the plot, leading into an explosive, high-risk finale where anything goes and stupidity is at an all time high. The visuals in this third act are better than ever, but all the problems lie within the script. The characters are given nonsensical, out of place lines that contradict everything they stood for earlier on, and their emotional bond is entirely unbelievable. The personal connection to these characters is lost, replaced with big set pieces used for the intention to dazzle audiences, but at the cost of making a good movie.
To sum up, Passengers is not as good of a movie as it should’ve been, given the cast the crew involved with the whole thing. The third act raises some serious problems, but for the most part, the film still manages to be a lot of fun, full of thrills, laughs and excitement.
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