Two of Hollywood’s biggest, most lovable stars labor away in the pretty but kind of dumb Passengers, a movie that doesn’t have the guts to be as ugly as it should be.
Chris Pratt plays Jim Preston, a mechanic dedicated to starting a life on a distant planet. He and 5,000 other passengers are in suspended animation aboard a ship taking a 125-year journey. That ship has an unfortunate encounter with a meteor shower, and Jim’s sleeping pod awakens him—with 90 years to go on the trip. What to do, what to do, what to do? Jim gets it into his mind to do a very bad thing, and that’s where Jennifer Lawrence’s character comes into play.
The movie is good-looking for sure, and I really liked the design of the ship. That’s essentially what’s keeping Passengers from getting my lowest rating. That, and the fact that Jennifer Lawrence really can act, even when she’s in a junk-food movie. She can salvage the most mundane of dialogue and almost make it sound good. Almost.
Passengers won’t frustrate you so much for what it is, as for what it could have been. Imagine if somebody like Stanley Kubrick got ahold of this premise. Oh man, that would’ve been a movie to be reckoned with. This could’ve been one of the sickest science fiction epics since Alien. Instead, it’s Cast Away meets Sleepless in Seattle in space. Instead, we get a pretty space opera with a happy ending.