Passengers: Movie Review
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What would a holiday movie season be without a big action adventure sci-fi thriller to grab our attention? Absolutely nothing except this year there are two. And unfortunately, one will likely to take a backseat to the other. This year that movie is Passengers. Released just days after the much-anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this star-powered (no pun intended) film contains all the elements to make it a box office success.
Featuring two of the most popular stars in Hollywood these days, Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and action hero Chris Pratt, Passengers is a sci-fi romantic drama that probes some of mankind’s most vexing questions regarding life, death, and whether we can truly survive alone in a vast universe.
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
Jim Preston (Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Lawrence) are two of 5,000 passengers on a spaceship making a 120-year journey to another planet for the purpose of starting a new civilization. They are 30 years into the voyage when their hibernation pods wake them up prematurely. Despite falling in love in this universe of two, the pair must figure out why their mammoth yet luxurious spaceship is malfunctioning. With the lives of thousands of others in peril, Jim and Aurora must overcome limited knowledge of their environment to save a ship seemingly destined for a colossal meltdown.
THE GOOD AND BAD OF PASSENGERS
Director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) makes great use of a viable script that had been floating around Hollywood for the better part of a decade. Perhaps the underlying reason was that Passengers seems to struggle at times trying to decide whether it should be a thinking man’s movie or an outright action-fueled blockbuster. Should it be designed to wow audiences or have them leave the theater pondering their place in the universe? The answer isn’t clear.
Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) and Pratt’s (Jurassic World) onscreen chemistry is excellent and electric at times as they sift through the realization that they will likely die before they ever reach their destination. Along the way, they must overcome feelings of love and hate for each other as they work through some of mankind’s most difficult questions – Should man be alone? Is it wrong for man to manipulate the future? Is it wrong for one person to decide the fate of another without permission?
While Lawrence and Pratt are the only two characters onscreen for 90 percent of the movie, Michael Sheen (Midnight in Paris) provides great onscreen value as a gentle, always encouraging bartender who just happens to be an android. His character is incapable of delivering any sort of advice on how to remedy the peril they are in. Sheen is witty, dynamic, and provides a quiet levity during the movie’s 116 minutes.
Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), who has had a long and remarkable 40-year Hollywood career, provides a calming influence in a supporting role as a flight crewmember that wakes from his hibernation late in the film.
Passengers is not a movie without its foibles. The faith community will be disappointed to find several scenes containing partial nudity, including a steamy sex scene between the unmarried voyagers that is not for the faint of heart. In addition, the use of alcohol takes center stage as both main characters consume varying quantities as they discuss their problems with the android bartender.
IN THE END
Visually spectacular in every way, Passengers is filled with enough plot-twists to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat throughout. While the movie’s last 30 minutes falls into predictable action blockbuster territory one cannot overlook the exploration of man’s need for community in the most dire of circumstances. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story it is not but it’s still worth the price of admission.
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