Review: Passengers – a disappointingly shallow sci-fi

Passengers is a sci-fi film that tells the story of Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), a mechanical engineer, who wakes up 90 years too soon from an induced hibernation. Jim has emigrated from Earth to start a new life on a different planet called Homestead II. With all 5,000 travellers still in hibernation pods, due to stay in this state for 120 years, Jim is jolted into consciousness after a technical malfunction occurs in his pod and becomes aware that he has 90 years of the expedition left, with re-hibernation not being an option. As deep loneliness sets in after spending a year without human company, Jim starts spending time looking among the other pods. He begins to fall in love with journalist Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) after spending hours playing her autobiography-video blogs held on the ship’s database. He is faced with an ethical conundrum, he can either spend his remaining days alone or wake up the fellow passenger for company with the knowledge that they will face the same sad fate. 

Despite dong reasonably well in the box office, the reception for Passengers seem to be massively varied. With the general audiences giving it an honourable review of 7.2/10 on IMDB, critics seem massively underwhelmed by the films delivery, as proved by the mere 31% it received on Rotten Tomatoes. Personally, my view comes somewhere in between. The film wasn’t awful, but it certainly wasn’t amazing either. The concept had all the promising elements of a great film, with a Gravity (2013) vibe, it was exciting to watch and the on-screen chemistry between Lawrence and Pratt is undeniable. The best part of the movie is the psychological side to Jim’s decision, as it is clearly selfish and immoral but tragically unavoidable. Passengers is a good reminder of the effects loneliness and desperation can play on our judgement.

Adina Rees

(Image courtesy of All Star/Sony Pictures Entertainment)

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