Morten Tyldum’s Passengers is a gorgeous looking experience starring two gorgeous people that nevertheless comes up empty in its overall execution. We are presented with two souls who are lost in space and find love, but the chemistry between the two giant stars never quite connects.
These subjects come in the form of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. They are two among thousands of Earthlings on a very long trip to a new planet. How long you might ask? 120 years, which means the passengers and the crew are in hibernation mode until they reach their destination. Jim (Pratt) is jarred awake one day from his slumber and realizes he’s the only one with his eyes open and there’s 90 years left on the journey. He makes it for a year on his own in the beautifully designed ship (props to the production design team), but his loneliness leads him to wake up talented writer Aurora (Lawrence). She thinks she’s woken up accidentally like Jim and he shares his secrets with the only other talking being on board – an android bartender in the form of Michael Sheen.
The duo spend their time trying to figure why the heck they’re such early risers while also falling in love. Jon Spaihts’s screenplay attempts to grapple with the understandable but also rather cruel choice by Jim to get Aurora up. Yet once certain revelations are brought out, the script follows a rather predictable and dull path.
Lawrence and Pratt are two performers who are rarely dull or predictable, but Passengers doesn’t do them any favors. No matter how hard they try, their characters are under developed and their chemistry is passable at best.
We’ve witnessed the stranded in space genre more recently and in much better fashion, from Gravity to The Martian. Speaking of gravity, there is a scene with a loss of just that that’s nifty. Ultimately though, Passengers doesn’t add much new or intriguing, even if it’s pretty to look at.
** (out of four)