Passengers Reviewed By Jon E Clist

The Premise
The spaceship, Starship Avalon, in its 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet known as the "Homestead Colony" and transporting 5,259 people has a malfunction in two of its sleep chambers. As a result two hibernation pods open prematurely and the two people that awoke, Jim Preston (Pratt) and Aurora Dunn (Lawrence), are stranded on the spaceship, still 90 years from their destination.

The Review
One of the parts of being a film reviewer is the conversations that you have with other reviewers before and after you see a film. It amazes me how many of the reviewers who proclaim their love of cinema are in general so negative about most film releases. Perhaps you may get say that in actuality they have a love of perfect cinema and an intolerance for anything that doesn’t measure up to their standards. I certainly believe that everyone deserves to have the freedom of opinion and be able to voice what they like and what they don’t. However, I think that when you get angry at what film doesn’t do, then it is probably more a case of your issues and not the film’s issues.

Now the reason I brought that up is that my conversations with reviewer’s post Passengers screening was a bit like that. Whereas the conversations with general industry people was rather different. The handful of other reviewers I chatted with seemed rather disappointed at the films perceived misgivings and yet the others that I talked to were more in the same mindset that I was in. For me, Passengers was a lovely enjoyable film that was quite graceful, rather moving and a lot of fun.

I definitely think that although it wasn’t electric, the chemistry between Lawrence and Pratt was solid. I mean come on, when it comes to Hollywood these two are the IT guy and gal. If you want to do bank at the box office, either of them will increase your odds to a healthy profit. So, it is rather amazing that it has taken this long for someone to put them together. According to a news article by The Hollywood Reporter, both leads will be pulling down double digit millions: Chris Pratt will be paid $12 Million while Jennifer Lawrence is looking at $20 Million against 30% of the profits.

I think the relationship between them works and if the press interviews around this film are any to be believed, they are now besties and enjoy a good comradery. Perhaps that is why their chemistry is not full on crazy believable. Yet you can certainly see a brilliant friendship connection. Chris Pratt is a stupidly funny person who obviously loves life and getting the most out of it. It is in roles that exploit this, that he is most successful and dotted amongst the plot are moments of humour and fun. In addition, we get to see his ability to emote in a more serious tone. As he is the first to awake from hyper sleep, you get the full array of emotions as he has mostly full reign of an empty space ship and thus the ability to do crazy fun things and yet become incredibly lonely.

Now for sure, there is nothing visually in this film that we haven’t already seen in other Sci-Fi films, yet for me what you see backs up the storyline and is still stunning to watch on the big screen or in High Definition. While there are moments that include some intense action sequences, this is a film about relationships and the journey to and from loneliness and connection. I thought the Avalon Starship was pretty spectacular and has been brought to life in a stunning visual manner.

One super interesting thing that kind of made me laugh a little when I found it out was that the voice of The Starship Avalon belongs to voiceover artist Emma Clarke, who is also one of the iconic 'Mind the Gap' voices on London Underground. Now if you have ever spent any time travelling on the Underground in the UK, this will be a voice that is very familiar to you.

The Verdict
The general cinema going audience loves a story about finding love and overcoming obstacles and when you throw in to the mix some action sequences then you are heading for a good time at the movies. That’s what you have here, a film for the people and not for the Critics...

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 1st January 2017
Rating: M – Contains adult themes
Duration: 116 minutes 
Genre:  SciFi, Thriller
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen
Director: Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game, Buddy)

The Extras
Keanu Reeves was attached to the lead male role in the film, but dropped out. Chris Pratt was eventually cast instead.

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.

Reese Witherspoon, Rachel McAdams and Emily Blunt were all, at different times, cast in the lead female role in the film, but dropped out during development. Jennifer Lawrence was eventually cast instead.

The story and screenplay for Passengers was developed at Keanu Reeves and Stephen Hamel's production company Company Films.

On the poster, under the title contains the symbols: dot dot dot, dash dash dash, dot dot dot - morse code for S.O.S

Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams were at one time attached to star, with Brian Kirk attached to direct.

Reese Witherspoon and Emily Blunt were at separate times attached to the female lead, with The Weinstein Company producing.

Gabriele Muccino, Marc Forster and Brian Kirk were previously attached to direct before Morten Tyldum.

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are both part of movie adaptations of Marvel comics. While Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill (Star-Lord) in 'Guardians of the Galaxy', Jennifer Lawrence plays Raven Darkhölme (Mystique) in the X-Men series.