Similar to how the recently released ‘Allied’ arrived in cinemas pre-empted by an action-heavy advertising campaign that proved somewhat misleading, ‘Passengers’ is far from the grand space opera many will be expecting. Instead of a sci-fi outing that’s more brawn than brains, Morten Tyldum‘s intriguing film is surprisingly simple, personal, and (mostly) effective.
As we learn, civilisation in the future has expanded beyond the constrictions of Earth and the Starship Avalon is currently travelling on a 120 year-long journey to Homestead II, a newly populated planet. Aboard the Avalon are 5000 passengers who are hibernating in their sleeper pods, destined to wake up in the final months of their travels in a new century. For mechanic Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) it’s the chance to start anew, unfortunately for him though an unprecedented malfunction disrupts his hibernation and he comes to the realisation that there’s still 90 years of travel left before the Avalon reaches its destination.
Understandably shaken, confused, angry and irrational in his predicament, Jim spends the best part of a year exploring the vast starship in equal attempts to both save and amuse himself; his appearance growing more dishevelled over-time, though his physicality remains in peak form. Seemingly accepting of his fate, a shift in circumstance welcomes another passenger out of their slumber – New York author Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) – leading to further contemplation on how to improve their current hardship.
If you venture into ‘Passengers’ expecting outlandish action-fuelled sequences, you’ll be bitterly disappointed as this is essentially a romantic drama that poses an interesting moral dilemma at the core of a story that attempts to be bold in its statement on love and sacrifice. Not as thrilling on a superficial popcorn level as ‘Rogue One’ or as emotionally effective as ‘Arrival’, ‘Passengers’ sits somewhere comfortably in between, proving a satisfactory-enough journey thanks to the allure of its leads and its sumptuous pallet.
Passengers is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below: