3 out of 5
Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are two of the hottest commodities in Hollywood at the moment — so it makes perfect sense that they would be paired up in a movie to maximize their talents and demand. That’s just what director, Morten Tyldum does in “Passengers,” a new sci-fi movie set in the future, when Earth is full and a corporation has devised a way to move people through space and time to a new home, with the promise of a new life.
Traveling at half the speed of light — Pratt and Lawrence are among more than 5,000 people searching for that new start on a spacecraft called, Avalon, headed toward a settlement called “Homestead II,” on the planet known as Homestead Colony. The 120 year journey is interrupted a bit early for them both, however, as a malfunction causes their hibernation pods to open and wake them 90 years too early. With the crew and the rest of the passengers all still asleep, and no hope of help (with the exception of a $6,000 email that will take 36 years to deliver), Aurora Lane (Lawrence) and Jim Preston (Pratt), have no choice but to accept their fate aboard what amounts to a luxurious cruise ship. The malfunction that woke them though is more than a glitch, as things begin to go wrong — threatening to end the trip early for everyone.
Before things go too far south though, Aurora and Preston fall in love — which ends up not being as “lucky” as Miss Lane might like to believe. The two explore the ship, and treat themselves to all of the amenities available to them, with their only other friend being Arthur, the robot bartender, played by Michael Sheen — a clear nod to Lloyd, the bartender who kept Jack Nicholson company in “The Shining.” As Aurora discovers more about how she came to be awake on the ship, more and more malfunctions begin to happen, and it isn’t long before the two passengers must put aside their differences and fight for the survival of the Avalon, and all on board.
The movie’s outcome really never is in doubt — but there are moments where you wonder if Tyldum might take you in a different direction, as one blockbuster released last week pretty much killed everyone you cared about. I won’t mention the name of that film to preserve spoilers — but let’s just say it rhymes with “Blogue Fun.” Aside from that, the movie is fun and beautiful to watch — and not just because the actors are gorgeous. The effects, especially when Lane and Preston spacewalk are just fantastic. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence’s chemistry is good, and they both continue to build on their relatable presences on screen. They both feel like people you could know in your own life — aside from their looks, bank accounts and worldwide fame. Perhaps the biggest question / cliffhanger for this entire movie, though, is just how much did Andy Garcia get paid for his work? And how do you get those types of jobs?