Sci-Fi Movie Review: Passengers

Most of you are probably already aware that I liked this movie, as it made my list for the 2017 Dragon Award nominations for best Sci-Fi film. Part of that was a lack of other great sci-fi films in this last year, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoyed Passengers any less.

The concept of the movie is that a passenger of a interstellar colony ship wakes up from stasis early because of an error. He’s named Jim (I’m guessing a star trek homage?) and is played by Chris Pratt, one of the few a-list hollywood actors who I don’t find annoying. The first 20 minutes or so of the movie reminded me of Castaway starring Tom Hanks, with a man going a bit crazy while he’s alone, beard growing, realizing he can run around naked, but with cool sci-fi technical entertainment options. He’s unable to wake the captain and ship’s crew to get himself back into stasis, and he’s stuck with 90 years left on a voyage — alone. Truly a frightening proposition.

A year into the journey, he has learned to awaken another passenger, and he, after deliberating on how immoral it is to condemn someone else to the same fate as him, decides to wake her. Being the only two people on the ship, romance ensues and of course she eventually finds out that he woke her intentionally and that it was not an error, setting off the drama later. The ship errors compound until it’s a threat to kill everyone on board, and our heroes do their thing, pretty standard plot and romance with little in the way of surprises.

And that’s fine. I didn’t need to be surprised. The plot was fun. The actors were charming, with great lines that made you care for them. It wasn’t overly dark, overly scary, and honestly it could have been PG if they hadn’t had to have the sex scene with the A-List actors to be gratuitous.

The effects looked great. I loved the ship, the rotating sections, the loss of gravity at points, all of their futuristic food replicators and entertainment amenities. The bartender robot was great. It’s about the perfect starliner space setting.

Acting was 2nd to none. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as mentioned before are imminently likable. Nothing to complain about there at all. Good range from laughter to fear to anger to passion from each of them. A+

If it sounds like the pacing could get a little slow in parts, it did. Like most modern movies, they could have shaved off 10-15 minutes and it would have been a little tighter and better. It still didn’t deter my enjoyment of it.

There is one scene where it went a little far for my suspension of disbelief when one character is floating lost in space, the other jumps out into zero-g to grab hold and save him. Getting that trajectory right having almost zero experience in null g…. I didn’t quite buy it, but it is a movie. Only having one bad instance like that I can give a pass.

Great romance, great sci-fi, all around recommended. I’ll actually watch this one again.

2 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Movie Review: Passengers

  1. I loved the way the movie handled its central moral dilemma: not minimizing it (unlike what some agenda-driven reviewers will tell you), but dealing with it in a realistic manner of people stuck in a terrible situation and making whatever choices are available to them. I’d love for it to get an award, if for no other reason than the fact that this is an original story rather than yet another sequel, reboot or adaptation.

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