Passengers (2016)

The future of space colonisation will require some way to account for the centuries of time it will take to fly to even the nearest planets to us. One solution is suspended animation: put your passengers to sleep for the duration of the crossing. So what happens if you wake up expecting to be on a new Earth, only to discover you’ve woken up 90 years too early?

That’s what happens to Jim (Chris Pratt), after the ship sustains damage from a debris field. So, the first part of this movie is about the solitude of one man, adrift between worlds.

The next phase of the film occurs when a second passenger, Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence), joins him. Much to my surprise, a good part of this is a love story – literally about the last two people ‘alive’, and possibly about as opposite as they could be.

Finally – and without spoiling anything – the movie shifts into action-packed disaster territory, as the interstellar ship light years from home starts developing a few, urm, glitches…!

There was a fair bit of controversy around this movie. Despite trying to avoid spoilers, I did hear one comment that led me to guess the ending – and was then quite surprised when that actually happens practically at the start of the film. And to be honest, I don’t entirely get the complaints: for one, it’s a movie and as such requires a dramatic plot, and secondly, it’s a HUGE plot point, not just something thrown in randomly or without thought. You might not agree with some of the choices, but then, you’re not in that situation – and that’s the whole point. I’m not dismissing the ‘ickiness’ of it in many ways, but my fears that I was going to join the half of the population hating this movie because of something completely inexcusable being written in were completely unfounded.

And actually, the moral dilemmas plus the change in pace, those three ‘movements’, added a lot more depth than I was expecting from a space-based action movie – although, we get that, too. And I for one found it a rather satisfying story.

Released: 21st December 2016
Viewed: 6th January 2017
Running time: 116 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 7.5/10

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