PLOT- Engineer, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and author, Aurora Lane ( Jennifer Lawrence) are among the 5000 passengers leaving an over-crowded earth, and headed towards the distant colony of Homestead 2. Homestead 2 promises to be a serene landscape, and their voyage on the Avalon, should be luxurious. It is a spaceship with no expenses spared. The passengers and crew are in hibernation pods, where they will be asleep for nearly a hundred and twenty years, waking up in the last months of the trip, where they will socialize, and learn about their new home. Jim's pod malfunctions thirty years into the voyage and he wakes up. Jim is devastated to learn that it is impossible to go back into hibernation. He cannot make contact with earth and no one else is awake. His only company is an android bartender named Arthur (Michael Sheen). Will Jim live the rest of his life without human contact? Is the glitch that opened his pod a sign of more dangerous problems to come?
LIKE- Passengers was not what I had anticipated based on the trailer. I was expecting a full-on action film, and I got a drama. A drama, with a touch of action and a touch of romance. Passengers was much better than I had anticipated.
It's inventive. I love the world of the Avalon, which is like a cruise ship in space. Clearly, the writers have been on cruises, with their class structures and "pay more for extras". When Jim wakes up, he is quickly reminded that he is the lowest tier passenger, with a single bed in a small captain. He goes for breakfast and at the automated machine, he sees all of the fancy coffee drinks available, but his fare only allows him a plain cup of coffee. Imagine being stuck alone and those little luxuries are even out of reach. Ugh. The mission of Homestead 2 is told through the technology on the ship, in a way that keeps the story moving forward, rather than bogging down the characters with exposition. The ship has beautiful features, like an infinity pool that seems to go off into the stars, and galleries for star gazing. The Avalon offers an array of dining choices from sushi to Mexican, even an upscale French restaurant, all staffed by robots. One of the most elegant features is an art deco themed bar, staffed Arthur, the android bartended. Sheen is a scene stealer as Arthur.
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The best part of the story is the moral dilemma. Aurora does not wake up from her pod by accident, Jim sees her and spends weeks obsessing over her, reading her writing and watching her profile videos, before finally deciding to open her pod. If the audience didn't know that Jim was so afflicted with loneliness, his behavior would be creepy. As it stands, I uneasily forgave his behavior. Jim keeps this info of his having opened her pod, concealed from her, allowing her to mourn this "accident" that has completely altered her life. Aurora is shattered by this news, much as Jim was when he initially woke from his pod. What she thinks is an accident, has condemned her to live out the rest of her life on this ship. Initially, she sees this as making her life infinitely smaller, but she switches her thinking, and allows herself to embrace this new course, which includes a passionate romance with Jim. Although Jim feels guilt for his role in changing Aurora's life, he becomes so swept away by Aurora's affections for him, that he doesn't tell her. When she finally does find out, she is crushed. It's this moral dilemma and the idea of being utterly alone in space, that made Passengers so compelling. What would you do in the same scenario? I don't think there is an easy solution.
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Lawrence's wardrobe is swoon worthy, especially her shoes. Oh those black caged heels. I had serious costume envy, and it may have been the first thing I mentioned to my husband upon leaving the theater. I got all girly on him with my immediate need to talk fashion. There is probably no better motivation for sticking to weight loss resolutions, than seeing Lawrence's sexy cocktail dresses. Gorgeous.
Speaking of sexy, Lawrence and Pratt have off-the-charts chemistry.
DISLIKE- As much as I enjoyed Passengers, it is a little sentimental and saccharine, especially the last quarter of the film. A majority of the story is very strong, but it gets messy at the end and feels rushed to a conclusion.
RECOMMEND- Yes. Passengers is much better than it looks from the trailer. It was lovely to see on the big screen, but not necessary. It's a worthy rental, a movie that caught me off-guard by how much I enjoyed it.