Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Passengers film review

Went to see this film at Odeon Leeds/Bradford Silver Screen showing.

IMDB says: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers.  As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

In this Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game, Headhunters) directed film, written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange), Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie) stars as Jim Preston, a mechanic travelling to the Homestead Colony, who is awakened 90 years early when a malfunction happens following a meteorite connecting to the hull of the spacecraft, the Avalon.  No-one else is awake, including the crew, and the only company he has apart from the interactive consoles is android bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen: Underworld, The Damned United).  After a year of trying to stay sane, his isolation causes him to obsess over one of the other sleeping passengers, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence: Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), a writer who is one of the gold passengers.

Finally worn down over his moral dilemma, he wakes her up and claims that like him, her pod malfunctioned and they slowly get to know one another and begin to fall in love.  A year later Arthur lets slip that Jim deliberately woke her from her pod and Aurora is so angry that she physically attacks him, but when Deck Officer Gus Mancuso's (Laurence Fishburne: The Matrix, Apocalypse Now) pod malfunctions causing him to wake too, they find out that there are failures in several of the systems.  The spacecraft is at risk of blowing up and they must work together to save the 5,258 passengers.

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers (2016)

In this sci-fi romance don't expect high action even though it is set in space, it is a mix of drama, romance and human psychology.  The acting was great and although there are only really four main actors, the movie did not feel empty of emotion.  It felt very real in that could a person really resist temptation to wake another passenger up if that was the only way that he could get human interaction for the rest of his life?  The journey left would take longer than he had to live and Jim could not just get back into the pod and go back to sleep again.  But like Aurora says to Gus in the movie, waking her was essentially murder as she would never get to live the life she was supposed to because of his actions.  This made the plot quite unique and although the ending let the film down, the stunning visuals and thought provoking dilemma of the main character held my attention throughout.

The chemistry between Lawrence and Pratt worked well and Sheen made it easy to forget that he wasn't actually a robot.  For me, the main enjoyment of the film was the moral complexity and the psychological aspect of the situation they find themselves in.  Would you sacrifice yourself to save another or bigger still, would you sacrifice another to save yourself?

As a side note, I think it is quite funny that Disney's Sleeping Beauty is also called Aurora and I am thinking that maybe this was a deliberate reference.

Tagline:  Every moment counts.                                                      7/10

Trivia: The voice of The Starship Avalon belongs to voiceover artist Emma Clarke, who is also one of the iconic 'Mind the Gap' voices on London Underground.  On the poster, under the title contains the symbols: dot dot dot, dash dash dash, dot dot dot - morse code for S.O.S.  The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.  According to a news article by The Hollywood Reporter, both leads will be pulling down double digit millions: Chris Pratt will be paid $12 Million while Jennifer Lawrence is looking at $20 Million against 30% of the profits.

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence at an event for Passengers (2016)

#Passengers  #ChrisPratt  #JenniferLawrence  #MichaelSheen  #LaurenceFishburne  #Odeon

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