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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 23, 2017

Passengers Movie Review: Futuristic Sci-Fi Love Story With Stunning Visuals And Attractive Lead Stars

IT TOOK A WHILE before we got to watch “Passengers” because initial feedback was negative, but we’re glad we were still able to catch it as it’s a guilty pleasure, mainly because of its attractive stars, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.

Set on the Starship Avalon as it travels on autopilot to a new colony called Homestead II, the lead character is Jim Preston (Pratt), a mechanic, one of the 5,000 passengers sleeping in hibernation pods. The journey will take 120 years, but an accident with an asteroid causes Jim to wake up 90 years before he is supposed to do so.

He spends the next year figuring out how he can go back to sleep or how he can wake up the officers of the ship to help him, but everything is unsuccessful and he’ll die of old age before the ship reaches its destination. His only contact is with a robot or android bartender, Arthur (Michael Sheen.)

He sees a beautiful young woman asleep in her own pod, Aurora Lane (Lawrence), and reads about her history on video. She’s a young writer and he’s so attracted to her he begins to wrestle with the morality of waking her up to keep him company. In the end, he’s not able to resist the impulse and wakes her up.

He pretends it’s an accident and she believes him. He helps her adjust to their odd situation as two castaways and they eventually fall in love. But just as he is about to propose to her with a ring, the robot accidentally reveals the truth to Aurora and she is totally devastated, hating Jim for committing an act that is just like murdering her.

Aurora distances herself from Jim but soon, a bigger complication occurs. The minor malfunctions they’ve been experiencing in the galactic spaceship turn serious and put the lives of all the other passengers and crew members in the ship in great danger. What will they do now?

It’s up to you at this point if you’d want to buy the film’s premise or not. But we guess in this kind of vehicle, you should be ready to completely suspend your disbelief and not treat it too seriously if you’re inclined to enjoy what you’re watching. Don’t expect another “2001 Space Odyssey”, but treat it as just another well made popcorn entertainment.

Technically, we cannot fault the movie as the design of the ship alone is truly amazing and provides stunning visuals. A scene where the ship loses gravity while Aurora is swimming in its infinity pool is so impressively staged. A very close encounter with a bright and shining star as the ship goes around it is also spectacular. The climax that will remind you of “Gravity” is also convincingly and thrillingly executed by Director Morten Tyldum (of the Oscar-nominated “The Imitation Game”.)

The A-List stars in the lead roles have great chemistry and look good together on screen. JLaw appears 40 minutes into the film and succeeds in showing conflicting emotions when she realizes that the stranger she has fallen in love with has actually betrayed her. Pratt held the first 40 minutes on his own persuasively, maybe not as effectively as Matt Damon in “The Martian”, but still, fairly impressive and charming in his own terms. Together, they make the journey in this sci-fi flick, which has no aliens or superheroes but more of a romantic flick with some moral issues, quite involving and worth taking.