Passengers is a story about a boy and a girl. Well, okay, it’s a little more complex than that. Jim Preston (Pratt) is a mechanic, and Aurora Lane (Lawrence) is a writer, but they’ve both given up their lives on Earth to live on a new colony of America that is 120 years of space travel away. The passengers of the starship are supposed to be in hibernation mode, but due to a malfunction, Jim and Aurora wake up.
From a cinematography standpoint, the film was stunning. There was a really good blend of CGI and traditional effects used on the starship, and the lighting was perfectly timed to match the current mood– it was exceptionally bright and clean to convey the futuristic vibe of the setting, as well as the isolation of being awake and alone, but when things started going wrong with the ship, the lighting darkens. There’s also the subtle use of green-based light, which falls in hand with the importance of trees and nature in the movie. The camera frequently swept widely across the scene, which allowed the audience to take in all of the scene and the world that the film is set in.
The acting in this movie was also impressive. Lawrence and Pratt have great chemistry, which had the chance to really shine as they were the only two characters for the majority of the story. Pratt, who was front-and-center for the first half hour or so, conveyed the helplessness and madness of isolation incredibly well. His character has to make an ethically difficult decision, and Pratt shows the struggle well. However, the real showstopper, I thought, was Martin Sheen as the android bartender Arthur. Sheen was equal parts witty, sexy, and compassionate, and served as the perfect amount of comic relief in what is mostly a serious drama.
My issue with this movie lies within the plot. The premise is simple– they wake up, they weren’t supposed to, the ship is going down and 5000 people are going to die. In the meantime, the two people who are awake falls in love. I found it kind of boring, because too many of the scenes were just shots of different areas of the ship, and the day-to-day life of Aurora and Jim. Every once and awhile, they showed a shot of a red screen in main control that signaled something was wrong, but mostly we just saw the passengers accept their fate and stagnate. Finally, towards the end, the plot picked up with the awakening of a crew member and the system failure of the ship. Just as quickly, though, the resolve the issue in a predictable series of events and return to their version of life on the ship. In the end, I couldn’t see the point.
Despite my problems with the plot, I still thought Passengers was a beautiful film. It was visually amazing and the acting was phenomenal, and that made up for a trivial storyline. If you get the opportunity, Passengers is definitely worth seeing!
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