Directed by Morten Tyldum
Written by Jon Spaihts
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne
If you have ever wanted to see a lesser sci-fi version of “Titanic,” but where Jack and Rose are the only ones on board and spend the third act trying to stop the boat from sinking, then “Passengers” would be the movie for you. Though I doubt many people are not too excited for a movie like this, based on the sparsely populated screening I was at last night.
“Passengers” is easily one of the worst love stories I have ever seen. It starts with one of the biggest dick moves you could do, it comes back to bite him the ass, and they make up because of convenience. That alone is one thing, a scripting thing that could have been forgiven, if not for Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Pairing these two sounds great on paper, but in reality, it did not work out as well as the producers had hoped it would. Lawrence gives a fine performance; I have yet to see her give a “bad” performance. Pratt is good as well; this movie gives him a chance to show his range as more than just the action hero type. Pratt and Lawrence just do not have great chemistry together. It is not as bad as Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” but it also was not as great as, say, Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Usually, as someone who loves the theater, I like it when a movie feels like a play; where the action takes place in one central location, and there are only a few characters. “Passengers” has one location, and for at least ninety percent of the movie, two characters. Laurence Fishburne has a brief appearance towards the end of the film. “Passengers” is unsuccessful in this format because the film is too weak to survive on two characters and one location. The movie is competently written and directed, nothing spectacular and nothing unspectacular, just average. When you are making a movie that is like a play, you need to have a strong film. You need to have a great script and great direction, not just a bland or average movie.
The wired thing is that the part of the movie that was the most engaging was the completely unnecessary set piece in the third act of the film. This sequence is likely only in the movie to re-engage the audience after sitting through all that bullshit of the first two acts. I was bored before this part of the film, in fact, was ready to walk out because the movie was that dull. Then this happens and it great because something is finally going on. It is unnecessary because this sequence does not belong in a movie like “Passengers,” the film should have been a stronger character piece, or at the very least, a sharp sociopolitical allegory.
While “Passengers” is not the year’s worst film, it may be the most disappointing. It contains good performances from the leads, but it is nothing more than an average movie as a whole.