Last night I watched Passengers on Video on Demand. It definitely deserves more than the 31% given on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is engaging and entertaining with some really cool special effects — even if you do have to suspend disbelief at certain points. It’s an original sci-fi script about a ship of 5,000 passengers and 250+ crew, all of whom are hibernating through a 120-year journey to a homesteading planet. Only Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) somehow are awake 90 years too early and must try to solve the impending disaster that is threatening the whole ship. The trailer (which I’ve included at the end of this post) does not really give an accurate impression of the movie — there is a lot less cutesy romance than the trailer suggests.
Pratt is on screen mostly by himself for the first 30 minutes or so, and his acting is excellent, bringing you along with his emotions all the way through his desperate attempts to resolve his situation and his agonized decision-making. This part of the movie reminds me in a good way of The Martian or Cast Away. Pratt does have a bit of help from the computerized voices of the ship itself, as well as Michael Sheen as a very believable and sympathetic android bartender.
I was not as impressed with Lawrence’s performance, even though I usually am a fan — I found it to be a bit over the top in the stressful situations they find themselves in. But there is no denying the chemistry between Lawrence and Pratt, which makes their romance plausible. I was really pleased with how tastefully the sex scenes are presented — the stage is set and then the camera moves away. In fact, I think that the only nudity is from Pratt, as we see him from behind walking down a hallway. Lawrence has one of the coolest special effects scenes, with her fighting to escape from the swimming pool water in a zero-gravity situation.
The only other actor with a speaking part is Laurence Fishburne, who plays a member of the crew who also wakes up early. His character is essential to any success that Jim and Aurora may have in saving the ship.
All in all, it was an evening well spent and a movie that I can recommend for its ability to hold the viewer’s interest.