Passengers review: Lacklustre chemistry from Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt and a bad plot

Mihir Fadnavis

Jan,07 2017 12:51:53 IST


With Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt at the top of their popularity levels, director Morten Tyldum who made the excellent Headhunters and a bid budget science fiction genre at the forefront, Passengers looked to be the next best thing since Gravity. So it’s quite a crushing disappointment that the film fails to live up to its pedigree and leaves you thoroughly unsatisfied.

We’re placed in a space ship called Avalon in the distant future. The 120-year mission of the ship is to transport 5000 people to colonize a new planet called Homestead 2. Something goes terribly wrong and two people Jim (Pratt) and Aurora (Lawrence) wake up from their hibernation chambers 90 years before the journey ends, marooning them on the ship for the rest of their lives. Predictably the two become close and fall in love, but things get worse as time progresses.


Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers. Image Courtesy: Youtube screen grab.

Now the biggest problem with the film isn’t that it just completely falls flat on the entertainment scale. It’s that the trailer of the film was kind of misleading – we’re led to believe that a malfunction causes one setback but it’s something completely different that happens. When said stuff happens we’re taken on a completely different moral route, and you tend to dislike one of the characters in the film. From here on you’re supposed to sympathise with the character for indulging in something awful but the film never makes an effort to tap into the psychological and moral ramifications of this character’s actions.

When this reveal is made within the film the person at the receiving end reacts in an oblique fashion and then reverts to the former persona with no real reason to do so. It’s frustrating to say the least and the theme of ‘choosing love over everything else’ ultimately becomes the film’s punching bag. That’s not taking into account the regressive issue of granting forgiveness to someone no matter what they’ve done to you.

Taken from a mainstream cinema point of view, the film doesn’t succeed in being fun either. Like the two characters in the film are forced to deal with tedium the audience is swept up in a similar emotion watching the two basically do nothing for two hours. It’s not a hard sci fi film where tension and atmosphere win you over, but an antiquated romance that comes off as little more than grating. Both Pratt and Lawrence are charismatic on their own but the chemistry between them here never really feels fun or funny. The action bits involve the two of them fixing issues in the ship but anyone who has ever watched a film set in a space ship will find the problems and their solutions painfully clichéd.

If you’re in the mood to see Lawrence taking a dip in the swimming pool and speaking to Pratt as if in a Gucci commercial, this is the movie for you. If you’re looking for a smart, strongly feminist and entertaining movie where the stakes are genuinely high, look elsewhere.


Published Date: Jan 07, 2017 12:51 PM | Updated Date: Sep 21, 2017 13:12 PM