- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Passengers is a long and winding journey on a very familiar path through space. To say this imaginative sci-fi adventure shoots itself in the foot is an understatement – especially if you sit through all of its two hours. To say that the film is completely worthless – as so many critics are – is a bit too easy of a dismissal. This is fun science fiction; it’s just not fresh science fiction.
There’s a formula here that actually does work. The chemistry-charged performances by Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence make the film worthy of a viewing at least once in your life. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But to be fair, this is a b-movie with solid A-listers as its cast, it’s bound to be a disappointment for some.
But I’m not going to knock it.
The film, directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) and written by screenwriter Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange) is a warm (and worn) coat of many colors. The film switches from adventure to drama and then to comedy and then on to romance with its PG-13 hookups between the actors, yet winds up being a thriller set in space. Maybe it suffers from not knowing exactly what it is. Maybe.
While the finished product doesn’t come close to exploring some of the subjects its script introduces, Passengers is, ultimately, an enjoyable tale to watch while munching on that bag of buttery popcorn in your lap. I guess I’m defending this forgettable flick due to its incredible cast and the surprising amount of humor that it sneaks in as two passengers on a trip to the far end of the galaxy bump into each other. They are destined for a brand new start on a distant planet, but – both literally and figuratively – find themselves wiping the sleep from their eyes way too soon.
Jim (Pratt) is awoken first. He tries to fall back asleep, but the idea of spending the next 90 years of the trip alone on the ship is the thought that keeps up. He does his best to stumble through some sort of routine, but is best equipped to make friends with the talkative android bartender (Michael Sheen) who fills drinks and offers advice, sharing more than a little resemblance to The Shining’s Lloyd the bartender.
Avalon is the name of the spaceship Jim is aboard. It is huge – crammed with 5000 other passengers in suspended animation, a basketball court, a place to dance, and everything else you could possibly imagine – but Jim is about to feel just how lifeless it really is. Days linger. Minutes tick. And the hours pass ever so slowly. Jim is alone…until Aurora (Lawrence) wakes up.
And so begins the romance, but with it – almost holding its hand – is a darker theme that builds upon the casings of moral and ethical dilemmas as the two discover why they were awakened way too early. But there’s a HUGE shocker coming and I’ll not ruin here. Co-starring Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, and Vince Foster, Passengers is an entertaining romp through the galaxy that drags on a bit too long for its own good.
Take someone you love or think you love or want to love to Passengers, folks. Aim for the stars, just plan to leave 10 minutes before the film ends…you’ll leave with a better experience.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and action/peril.
Runtime: 116 mins
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Jon Spaihts
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen
Genre: Adventure | Sci-fi
Tagline: Every Moment Counts
Memorable Movie Quote: "Took you long enough to ask. So why'd you give up your life on Earth?"
Theatrical Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
Official Site: http://www.passengersmovie.com/
Release Date: December 23, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: Jennifer Lawrence (Aurora) and Chris Pratt (Jim) star in an exciting action-thriller about two strangers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early. Jim and Aurora are forced to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction as the ship teeters on the brink of collapse, jeopardizing the lives of the passengers on the greatest mass migration in human history.
Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray - March 14, 2017
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French (Canada): DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD-50); UV digital copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: Region A
My God, it’s full of stars. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s 1080p transfer of Passengers is a true marvel of cinema. This film is beautiful and, as it was shot on the Alexa 65 camera, it damn well should be heavenly. Full of texture and details, the transfer – in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio – is engaging and very satisfying. Colors pop as much as the black levels define. Shadows are long and deep and varied. They say no one in space can hear you scream, but can they hear you weep? Because this transfer is so beautiful that it might bring you to tears. The sound – revealed here in a dynamic Dolby Atmos TrueHD 7.1 track – is as good as it gets when it comes to sound design; all sounds come through a fully-engaged setup and sound awesome.
Ignore the lame cover art included with this release of dazzling science fiction, as there truly is a cool tucked inside the sleeve and scap-case here. The studio might not know that due to just how crappy the art here is, but Passengers is pretty groovy. The supplemental items cover the casting of the movie and how the effects were created, which mixed a lot of practical effects with digital ones to create a dynamic production design. There are also several short featurettes advertising the trip to Homestead II that the “passengers” are currently on. A digital copy is also included.
- Deleted Scenes
- Casting the Passengers
- Space on Screen: The Visual Effects of Passengers
- On the Set with Chris Pratt
- Creating the Avalon
- Book Passage