Aboard the transport ship Avalon, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and 5237 other passengers are heading to Homestead II in search of a new start on a distance planet 120 years away. 30 years into the journey, Jim awakes from his hibernation pod 90 years too soon and spends over a year trying to learn about the ship to find a way to get back into hyper sleep. He spends his time talking with Arthur (Michael Sheen), the robot bartender, and watching videos of the people on board to feel connected to anything living. Because he is alone, he struggles with the idea of waking up a woman named Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), whom he has become infatuated with. He wishes desperately to have human contact again, but waking Aurora would be condemning her to the same fate as him.
I know the critic consensus about Passengers is negative, but I liked this movie for the most part. First of all, the setting, ship and visuals are all stunning and set the mood perfectly. Chris Pratt is likable as always, and he sets the tone for a Cast Away feel with Arthur representing Wilson. The first hour of the movie is simple. Jim awakes and learns about his surroundings. Does he wake Aurora? Obviously seeing the previews, Jim does wake up Aurora and they live in harmony, and we get to watch how the 2 of them live and love isolated from everything. They are likable and charming. They are in love and it shows us that sometimes needing only 1 person is all we really need.
The 2nd half of the film is where the problems lay. Now, I didn’t hate the way this movie plays out, but I wasn’t a fan of the numerous conflicts thrown our way. Basically, there are so many twists and heart-touching moments that it will make the common person feel overwhelmed. I think they could have continued with the simplicity of the story like from the beginning by only adding in a couple of problems, but the end of this movie piles it on and one can’t help but feel off put. I felt crowded by the story because the beginning so was relaxing and calm. It was like listening to classical music and then someone cranking up the heavy metal.
Other than the likability of the cast/characters, the main reason I liked this movie was because of the message. I felt this movie was trying to convey the idea that no matter what you think your life should be, embrace what you have. At one point, Aurora says that Jim murdered her by waking her up early. She felt that he robbed her of the life she was suppose to have, but as the movie progresses, she realizes that he gave her a whole new life with him. It is surprising how much stock we as humans put in our future and miss out what is right in front of our faces. I also felt this movie was about sacrifice for love, and without giving any spoilers, the ultimate sacrifice can be interpreted many different ways. It isn’t common to “sacrifice” one’s life in order to spend the rest of your life with the one you love, but this idea is throughout this movie. It is an interesting look on choices and how we live.
At the end of the day, this movie is being torn apart by critics for the way the movie plays out at the end with all the difficult issues that arise which turn the story from simple to complex. I don’t think it was that bad personally, but I can see how it could stress out many people with the way this movie plays with your heart. Honestly, if you are a fan of these 2 actors, this genre or if you liked the 2015 movie Jupiter Ascending, then give it a try. You might actually disagree with the critics like I did. Co-starring Laurence Fishburne and Andy Garcia.
8/10 Stars – Passengers might have an ending that is too over-the-top with emotional choices, it is the chemistry of the leads, the visuals and the simple nature of the first hour that will suck you in and allow you enjoy this deep story.