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Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt team up to tell the story of two passengers stranded on a starship. The ship is heading for Homestead II—a new Earth-like planet that accepts colonists from Earth. However, both Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) have woken up too soon from their induced hibernation. One due to mechanical failure and the other by mysterious means. The film was directed by Morten Tyldum and written by John Spaihts. It was later released in theaters on December 21st, 2016.
The film's soft science works without being too overwhelming. The movie is less about what science is capable of and more about what humanity has been able to accomplish. It also takes some of its biggest influences from science fiction television series such as Star Trek and Doctor Who. We have created androids with personalities. Life-like holograms to assist us. Disembodied voices to welcome us as we enter a room. Luxurious ships that are capable of traveling light years. Colonized other worlds for our people to live on. But, the film is not concerned about the science behind such inventions. Only that we have invented them.
At heart, Passengers can be viewed as a romance film. What's more romantic than dooming someone else to an eternity of loneliness? After all, misery loves company. Aurora Lane is a writer and career orientated woman who took on the voyage for personal gain. She is humorous, poised, and confident. All qualities which Jim Preston falls head over heels for. The problem is she's not mean to wake for another 89 years or so. And to take someone's life away from them isn't by any means romantic. However, the script somehow finds a way for the two to bond together and become better people. Definitely, not your typical love narrative.
The chemistry between Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt speaks volumes. Both stars are recognizable in their own right. And famous for their own roles in other highly, acclaimed movies. However, when working together, the two characters create scenes that are palpable. Scenes flow effortlessly between them. When they first meet, it sorta feels like they're meant for each other. Their interactions are truly a joy to watch.
Passengers succeeds not as a science fiction film but as a romance one. The scenes in the beginning are camp and outdated. Nevertheless, there's a fine line between nostalgia and poor imitations. Thankfully, the film realizes the difference pretty quickly and moves away from the more heavier elements of science fiction. Some may not like this, however this where the movie truly shines. While its outer space setting is important to the plot, this story could've been told anywhere.
So, why see the film? The movie is much more than science fiction. The most decorated fan of Sci-fi will find what the movie has to offer extremely enjoyable. But, so would the next person who enjoys dramas. If you like adventure, there is a bit of that as well. More importantly, the film challenges our idea of loneliness and morality. What would we do in Jim's situation? What would we have done in Auroras'? Questions like these keep the movie engaging throughout.
Passengers is available on Blu-ray, DVD, Amazon Video, and ITunes.