Passengers works for me largely in part due to the great chemistry between Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Their relationship is believable, real. Exactly what I would expect from two people stuck in a space paradise together. I try to avoid words like “sizzle” and “spice” when describing onscreen pairings, but it’s 7:30pm on a Tuesday night and I have folded clothes to put away. So….Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence absolutely sizzle onscreen together! Free from the inhibitions of watching eyes the duo adds real spice to the film’s flavor. Yep, that just happened. No regrets. Yolo.
I was surprised by how solid the film was from beginning to end. The mark of a great movie for me is consistency throughout, the same measure I use to judge a good key lime pie. Passengers kept me engaged for its entirety without managing to overstay its welcome. It’s funny in parts while being touching in others. Overall the pace works.
The special effects were also impressive. The inside of the ship where most of the story takes place is a carnival of sights. Its futuristic yet a familiar touch of home at the same time. The recesses of space were captured in brilliant fashion. As main character Jim Preston (Pratt) goes exploring the expanse, you start to realize just how small and lonely he must feel in comparison.
When Preston awakens on a craft headed for another planet, he realizes the ship pulled him from hibernation too soon. It isn’t long before he is joined by Aurora Lane (Lawrence) who has to help him figure out why the ship woke them up early before things go terribly wrong.
The only thing holding this film back from being great as opposed to “just ok” is implausibility. There are quite a few things that happen, both from a scientific standpoint and plot advancement standpoint, that may leave you scratching your head a bit. This film falls victim at times of trying to take shortcuts. However, if you can suspend your disbelief for just long enough and turn a blind eye, you won’t be disappointed.
Some films are reviewed badly because they’re…well…bad. Other films fall victim to what I call Pile-On: A few critics from the “In Crowd” don’t like it so everyone else is supposed to hate it as well (see The Hitman’s Bodyguard). I think Passengers suffer from the latter. See it. It won’t change your life, but a great way to spend two hours nonetheless. I give it a 73.