This review was written by Anthony J Digioia. Follow him and his website here for more awesome reviews: SilverScreen Analysis
“Passengers” is directed by Morten Tyldum and stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. This story is about a spacecraft that is travelling across distant space for 120 years, to a new planet where humans are colonizing. The ship is filled with hundreds of crew members and 5,000 passengers, all of whom are in deep sleep. When the ship is traveling through an asteroid field a malfunction occurs and two passengers are awoken early, 90-years early.
I was interested in this film, not overly excited but I certainly went in with an open mind, wanting to enjoy it. Lawrence and Pratt are hot right now and I was curious how their chemistry would play out. And as this films starts I felt the story delivered on the interesting premise. As this film gets going it had me very intrigued as it builds the situation, the settings, and the ramifications of everything.
Visually this was an amazing film to watch. It was a contained film with a singular location but it never felt claustrophobic with the creation of this massive ship that just provided endless amounts of visually appealing backdrops. I thought Morten Tyldum’s direction and the cinematography from Rodrigo Prieto were both excellent. Together they craft a beautiful science-fiction setting with immersive landscapes and vivid colors, giving the film a very crisp, polished look.
The performances were both very good, and they were able to virtually carry the run-time on their own, given these two characters ARE the bulk of the entire film. They both land their emotional moments throughout the story. In particular Chris Pratt who as likable as he may be, is rather one dimensional. He was able to show some range in this performance and it made the persona of this character fitting to what this story needed.
Jennifer Lawrence was very good as well, her role wasn’t the most demanding, but she was able to deliver what the role needed as well. Their chemistry was serviceable, nothing that would make this meeting very memorable at all however. They had some entertaining back-and-forth’s, and for the most part created some compelling dynamics between them.
Now like I said the first-act and into the second were very good, the film was turning out to be much better than I was expecting. Then the pace slowed. Then the third-act came in, and honestly ruined it for me. It felt like a blend of, “Titanic” with “Gravity” and a splash of “Armageddon”. It almost felt like two films to me, one very interesting, well-crafted science-fiction drama, not on the level of “The Martian” at all, but entertaining. Then it felt like a routine, cut-and-paste love story set in space. Where the predictability increases and even the tone of the dialogue shifts into what felt like cruise control for the genre.
The dialogue gets sappy, character shifts are sudden, everything the film built up prior, was glossed over with a generic wrap-up and it was unfortunate because this could have been a very good film. Instead of being one that showed creativity 75% of the way, only to fall off a little in the closing act. It was still an enjoyable film though, the message it wants to deliver was a good one, it just didn’t land with nearly the impact it could have.
It’s a great film visually but the script falters late in the game and just doesn’t deliver the payoff this film could have. But there is some good in this one, it’s far from a horrible watch, it is certainly worth a one-time viewing but, nothing you may need rush out and see in theaters.