Passengers. 5000 of them, and over 200 crew, but Jim (Chris Pratt) is the only one woken up 90 years early by an incident through an asteroid field, so he’s got a long time to wait before he reaches the planet, Homestead II.
Left home alone with nothing to do other than grow a beard and talk to Michael Sheen as Arthur the Android barman (a very Shining-style reference, there), what else can you do without committing suicide, when any message to Earth won’t get a reply before 55 years have passed?
On waking up, he tries to ask the ship’s computer where everyone else is, and the hologram replies with David Cameron’s mantra, “We’re all in this together”. As helpful as our ex-Prime Minister was(!)
There’s an interesting dilemma for Jim to face, and one that’s not just how to get back to sleep, but before long, a situation also leads to Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) waking up. Two heads are better than one when it comes to solving a dilemma, right?
Passengers also has elements of 2001 in this, but overall, while the director is clearly a fan of Kubrick, this is nowhere near as rewatchable as either that or the aforementioned Jack Nicholson movie. The film does pose an interesting premise which the pair have to try and solve in the final act. Will they make it? All I’ll say is, it’s that point where it falls apart into Bollocksville, giving a hugely disappointing conclusion. In fact, a hugely disappointing last third, as calamity has struck, they’re then trying to fix said calamity, and the way that they attempt makes you think…. huh? REALLY?!! What a load of old fanny!
Along the way, director Morten Tyldum throws away his good work from Headhunters and The Imitation Game by resorting to a typical movie trope of “I need to go vastly out of my way to pull a big lever to solve a crisis, but it’s in a difficult-to-reach position and I might die doing so, but I’m a good guy, so I should be fine, right?” Why not just put that in the ship, itself? So dumb.
I think I’d rather be asleep for 120 years than watch another Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence double-bill again, and you won’t need a hibernation pod to make that happen if you do.
What also annoyed me about this film is that while the initial trailer had promise, as the release date got closer, the internet was full of clickbait stories about the two leads trading insults with each other and how “oh, so hilarious” it was… so, nothing about film, then? That sums it up.
What also sums it up is that the budget for the movie is $110m, but its opening weekend in the US saw it only raise $15m. Still, that’s better than Assassins Creed‘s $10m against a $125m budget!
In addition, it really didn’t help releasing this right inbetween Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Christmas. People are busy and they haven’t got time to see two big films, so they go with the one they know will deliver.
Running time: 116 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (6.5K))
Released: December 21st 2016
Director: Morten Tyldum
Producers: Stephen Hamel, Michael Maher, Ori Marmur and Neal H Moritz
Screenplay: Jon Spaihts
Music: Thomas Newman
Jim Preston: Chris Pratt
Aurora Lane: Jennifer Lawrence
Arthur: Michael Sheen
Gus Mancuso: Laurence Fishburne
Captain Norris: Andy Garcia
Executive Officer: Vince Foster
Communications Officer: Kara Flowers
Instructor (Hologram): Julee Cerda
The Starship Avalon (voice): Emma Clarke
InfoMat / Deejay (voice): Chris Edgerly
Observatory (voice): Fred Melamed
Video Game (voice): Matt Corboy
Hector, the Robot Waiter: Jesus Mendoza
Sushi Robot Waitress: Alpha Takahashi
French Restaurant Robot Waiters: Matthew Wolf and Jean-Michel Richaud
French Restaurant Robot Waiter
Autodoc (voice): Jon Spaihts
Dancers: Curtis Grecco and Joy Spears
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.