To be quite frank, if you’re going to see a space movie, then hunt down Rogue One and leave Passengers on your to do list.
Passengers, directed by Morten Tyldum, is an outer-space love story with a twist. Unfortunately, the twist referred to is a profound act of selfishness by one of the lovers that all but sucks the romance out of the entire movie.
Two begin with, this is basically a two hour film revolving around three characters 90% of the time. On a 120-year journey from Earth to a distant planet, the crew of the spaceship and the 5000 passengers are all in pods where they are hibernating.
Chris Pratt, an actor who has recently shown his acting chops in both Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Jurassic World (2015), plays Jim Preston, a passenger who is suddenly awakened only to discover that he is the only human alive. Finding out that he is still 90 years away from the end of the journey, he lives close to a year with little to do other than to drink and socialize with an android bartender played with style and humor by Michael Sheen.
In the process of repeatedly exploring the vessel, Jim discovers a fascinating hibernating woman played by Jennifer Lawrence. He finally succumbs to artificially awakening her, convincing Mr. Sheen to keep his dirty little secret. As the two begin to fall in love, Sheen tells the truth to Ms. Lawrence, and it is not surprising to see that the bloom quickly fell off that rose.
Both Pratt and Lawrence save the film with a flair consistent with their individual acting talents. While Lawrence’s love turns to hate, they both are forced to bury their differences when malfunctions threaten to have the spaceship implode.
Lawrence Fishburne, the ship’s commander, is suddenly rousted from his hibernation in the same manner that occurred to Pratt. These three characters work together to try to find a way to save the vessel and all of its occupants. The subsequent adventure is not without interest, although how Ms. Lawrence could ever forgive the conduct of Mr. Pratt is never fully explained.
Interestingly, a number of people in the audience applauded at the film’s ending, a scenario that I won’t dare give away. The theme of the entire film seemed to boil down to “forgive and forget”, something that appeared to work given that our antagonistic lovers had to accept that loneliness for the rest of their lives was the only alternative.