"Passengers" puts a new twist on an old question, “Who would you bring with if you were stuck on desert island with no chance of rescue?” The film takes it audience for a journey into space to explore this question in depth.
A spaceship known as the Avalon is making its journey through space, transporting thousands of colonists to a planet in a distant Galaxy to settle. The journey from Earth to the new world, Homestead II, is a trip that will take hundreds of years to make. During the voyage, the colonists, as well as the ship's crew, are put into sleeping pods. The pods will open and awaken the passengers when the ship is four months away from reaching the planet.
After the ship is damaged in an asteroid field, one of the pods opens 90 years early due to a malfunction in the ship’s systems. After a year alone, the passenger, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), makes the decision to open another pod because can’t bear the isolation any longer.
Several parts of “Passengers” give the audience the impression that they are watching a one-man theater play. In the early parts of the movie it shows how truly isolated Preston is and the daily struggle he faces to find meaning and purpose in his life. He tries to fill his life with different activities like watching movies, playing basketball and hanging out at the ship’s bar with an android.
Soon he falls into a deep funk, grows a beard and takes on the appearance of “The Dude” from “The Big Lebowski.” The struggle to find meaning comes to a climax where Preston contemplates taking his life. Pratt, in these moments, shows the weight of the world bearing down on Preston not by speaking but through his body language — like the way he shuffles his feet as he walks around the corridors of the spaceship.
Theses moments can be truly difficult to portray an audience because there are no other actors who help lend a hand. Pratt’s performance in those moments kept the audience engaged and the story moving forward in a positive direction.
The second theme that “Passengers” explores is how one life can make so much of a difference in another life. After Preston makes the decision to wake up another person, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), from her sleep, the daily interaction they have lifted Preston’s spirits. Having that connection provides Preston with meaning and a sense of purpose once again.
Passengers is a well throughout and executed film. The story has a good flow and provides a lot of substance for audiences to hold onto during its 116 minutes. If you’re looking to see this weekend “Passengers” is worth your time.
I give “Passengers” four out of five mustaches.
This film is rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and action/peril.
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