Eye For Film >> Movies >> Passengers (2016) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Who would you take to a desert island? Keir and HAL, or Chris and Jennifer? Swap the island for a spaceship going to planet Forever and you understand the prob.
HAL was the evil computer in 2001 - A Space Odyssey and Keir Dullea was the only walking life form. Chris Pratt is a hunky actor best known for Guardians Of The Galaxy and Jurassic World while Jennifer is Ms Lawrence, the hottest Oscar winning actress in HollyGolightly land.
The concept of being trapped in solitary confinement for the rest of your natural is a goose bump reversal experience. There are only two conclusions, madness or suicide. Plot lines are limited. Attack by an alien warcraft (no, not Warcraft)? Been there/done that too many times with the Star Wars/Star Trek franchises. Faults in the mainframe computer? Good thinking. There are so many possibilities here, enhanced a thousandfold by state-of-the-a CGI.
So where were we? Jennifer? Yes. Obviously you would choose her over HAL. As for Chris he can do what guys do when no one is looking, stop shaving, leave his room in a mess, drink too much and feel sorry for himself.
Here's the thing. Spaceship Avalon is en route to Homestead II with 5000 colonists on board in tucked up comatose conditions for the 120-year journey. Something goes wrong and Jim Preston (Pratt) wakes up too soon. The spaceship, like a five-star hotel, only bigger, has everything a spoilt rich person would want, including a live in/stay in/plugged in robot barman, called Arthur (Michael "I'm not going back to Port Talbot" Sheen), who is a good listener and a small talk connoisseur, courtesy of his astute programmer.
Avalon has 80 years left before arrival. That's a lifetime. Alone? No way. Jim does the worst/best thing - worst for her, best for him. He wakes up the sexiest looking passenger, Aurora Lane (Lawrence), a writer and journalist, and discovers that he doesn't have the skills to reverse the process. Once awake, always awake. For the rest of their live long lives.
Heavy, or what?
The problem for screen scribe Jon Spaihts is how to give them interesting things to do once the rows and the sex and the getting-to-know-you has calmed down. At least in Alien there were other people as well as John Hurt's tummy trouble. Here there is a robot cocktail shaker and Laurence Fishburne who appears unannounced looking shattered as if he's just been told that he's lost the CSI job, but doesn't stay long. Things get silly when the mechanism fails and the CGI crew have a field day and you think, Omygawd she's going to die, or he's going to die, and then you take yourself aside and say in a calm, clear voice, "If Aurora or Jim snuff it what happens to the movie?"
What does happen to the movie? Not enough.
It looks great. All the money saved on actors' wages has gone into set dressing and kit, although you have to admit that Jim did the right thing. Two hours of him and him and him would have destroyed your will to live.Reviewed on: 20 Dec 2016