Please note: This review contains spoilers. That’s right, I’m going to ruin the whole movie for you. You can’t stop me. I’m mad with power!
Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheehan, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Morten Tyldum
Rating: PG-13 for partial space nudity and space hanky panky.
Plot: Two passengers on a luxurious, long range space ship emerge from hibernation decades early and learn they will die before everyone else wakes up. It’s a love story!
In the future, Earthlings will travel through space to colonize far off planets.
They say this will happen because future Earth will be overcrowded and polluted, but I believe it will be because Amazon.com will become so powerful it will eventually need other planets to conquer.
As Passengers opens, the interplanetary space ship Avalon is 30 years into its 120 year trip to a planet called Homestead II. Thousands of passengers and crew are in hibernation pods aboard the massive automated vessel with an interior that looks like a cross between an Apple store, a Carnival cruise ship, and The Mall of America.
A freak meteor storm causes the ship to malfunction, and for some reason a single hibernation pod pops open and out pops affable engineer Jim Preston (Chris Star Lord Pratt).
Jim learns quickly that the Avalon has not reached Homestead II, mostly because he’s the only person to show up at the “Welcome back from Hibernation” seminar at the conference center. Then Jim discovers some horrible truths: his hibernation pod can’t be reactivated, the ship won’t reach its destination for another 90 years which means he will die alone long before the others wake up, and only first class passengers get unlimited bacon in the automated cafeteria!
Without a volleyball to talk to, Jim befriends Arthur (Michael Sheehan) an android who tends bar at a swanky lounge located on the Avalon’s massive promenade.
As a fair man of the bottle I can appreciate Jim and Aurthur’s relationship. There have been times in my life when I was in despair, desperate for some beacon of hope, and a bartender was there to offer me comfort and understanding with a kind word, some sage advice, and a shiny wall of booze. Treasure your bartenders, kids. They are special people.
After a year of moping about the ship, Jim spots pretty Aurora Lane (uber movie star Jennifer Lawrence) fast asleep in her pod. He becomes smitten with the pretty Aurora, an accomplished journalist and writer who would have been way out of his league back on earth.
Desperate to talk to someone other than a robot bartender who doesn’t know a single dirty joke, Jim does something that back on earth would be classified as a “dick move.” He breaks Aurora’s pod and when she wakes up he tells her a ship malfunction did it.
Yeah, the trailer for Passengers didn’t mention that plot twist did it?
Affable Jim is kind of a monster for sentencing poor Aurora to a life sentence alone on the Avalon with him and then lying about it, isn’t he? I bet Aurora is so distraught about the thought of dying alone with the handsome engineer with the washboard abs she doesn’t fall madly in love with him!
Oh wait, she does. Well, he is Star Lord.
Unfortunately Jim and Aurora’s little romance (which involves doing it on every flat surface on the ship; thank God the Aurora is swarming with little Roomba droids that clean everything) is interrupted when Arthur breaks the robot bro code and tells Aurora Jim deliberately sabotaged her pod and lied about it. Needless to say Aurora has an Academy Award actress level conniption fit and breaks things off with Jim, who really hopes Aurora can look past the whole “I ruined your life and then lied about it” thing so they can get back to snuggling in the observation lounge.
Things get even worse when systems start failing all over the Avalon, putting our space lovers and the thousands of sleeping passengers in mortal peril. Can Jim and Aurora put aside their issues and save everyone? More importantly, can they save their relationship, or will they have to work out a joint custody agreement for Arthur?
If you can overlook the whole Jim did something really horrible to an innocent woman thing, Passengers is a pretty interesting movie and a unique love story.
I’ve seen worse movies about the give and take of complicated relationships between a man and a woman:
Before Sunrise. Ghost. Eraserhead. The Devil’s Rejects. The Human Centipede. My Best Friend’s Wedding….