In theaters from director Morten Tyldum and Columbia Pictures is a journey gone wrong, especially when you are only a passenger.
Heading toward the new planet of Homestead II is a ship called the Avalon making a 120-year journey. Aboard this ship in hibernation are 300 crew and 5,000 passengers who are embarking on a new life on this distant planet. The Avalon is on autopilot of sorts, with the mission objective of waking up the crew a few months before arriving at their new home. After an incident in space, one kryotube is disrupted and Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is suddenly awakened 90 years too soon.
After realizing that he is the only one, Jim goes about learning all he can about the ship, but is stumped on how to restart his kryotube or how to get into the ship’s computer. He does, however, have a bit of company in Arthur (Michael Sheen), a bartender who offers Jim a few friendly words of advice now and then. Trying to decide what to do next, Jim comes across Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) asleep in her kryotube, and has nothing but time to learn about her. In the next moment, Aurora is awake and finds herself in the same thought processes as Jim!
The two fall in love, but let’s face it: This is space where nothing is predictable. They are surprised when Gus Mancuso (Lawrence Fishburne) announces that he is also awake and a member of the ship’s crew. This couldn’t come at a more perfect time, since the Avalon needs someone who knows the ship. Now all three must work together to make sure the Avalon reaches its destination before it’s too late!
Pratt as Jim is a joy to watch, especially as he wanders around the ship learning how to make the best use of his time alone. His creativity only goes so far, as it would for anyone, but he is mentally saved when Aurora joins him. Pratt is a triple threat in that he has a great sense of the comedic but can flip the switch and become very vulnerable and jump into selfless super hero mode all in a two-hour film. Not that I wasn’t a fan before, but Pratt really showed his stuff in “Guardians of the Galaxy” taking the lead and having his moment to shine. He does well in “Passengers,” and absolutely won’t disappoint.
Lawrence as Aurora is smart, funny, beautiful and every bit a realist when it comes to her journey through space. She doesn’t let the character of Aurora outshine, but instead is on a totally level playing field with Pratt. That is what I appreciated about her role here, because her character had moments and pulled it together when she needed to the most. I have to give Lawrence credit also for just playing this role so super cool and subtly sexy.
Sheen as Arthur is hilarious as well as impeccably dressed and has all the smooth lines one would expect from a bartender. There is something about Sheen that just draws me in, and of course I’m sure the awesome accent has something to do with it or perhaps the soulful eyes. Whatever it is, when he is on screen I dang well pay attention. With the recent news that he is taking a break from acting to focus on politics gives my heart pause and a serious frowny face. Yes, it’s like that! Fishburne as Mancuso has a small role, but he speaks volumes, as Fishburne has a tendency to do.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Passengers” four tubs of popcorn out of five. This space adventure has remnants of other space films that I actually happen to like, so I embraced this adventure/romance/jaunt into a world that, once you are in it, there is no control no matter how spiffy the ship’s accommodations are. The special effects are well done, especially when it comes to gravity — or lack thereof. I certainly wouldn’t mind taking a swim in a pool in space — the view is fantastic.
That being said, there is the dealing with solitude, decisions made on fear, love, betrayal and survival all rolled into the film. If I was to bring in one thing that bothered me a bit, there is a bit of predictability here that I wish wasn’t there. It didn’t pull me off the film, it just made me wish for something a little different in a few places.
Pratt also came to San Diego for an exclusive screening for the military and their families recently at the Marie Corps Air Station Miramar. He met with the service men and women, making them feel special and as a way of thanking them for their service.
If you are looking for a beautiful walk in space with Pratt and Lawrence, then this is the film to be buying a ticket for. The space scenes are literally out of this world and stunning, and the chemistry between these two actors is worthy of admission.
In the end — every moment counts!