Despite an interesting concept, a great musical score and the star power of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, ‘Passengers’ is a poorly edited frustrating mess that can’t quite decide what sort of film it wants to be.
Despite promoting itself as a science fiction flick, ‘Passengers’ is more romance than sci-fi. Theres also a tease that the film could turn into a dark thriller too but this doesn’t come to fruition despite a tense mystery surrounding the characters. Unfortunately this comes to nothing and the constant genre shift not only affects the script and the pacing of the film, it also ultimately makes Passengers a film unsure of its own target market. Ironically, this approach actually does more harm than good. Its not quite a romance, its not quite a sci fi and it never quite hits the right notes to class itself as a thriller. What we get then is a wishy-washy film that flits from one genre to another as it grows toward a finale that frankly, misses the mark completely.
The story follows the spaceship Avalon as it sets off on its journey with the human race in hibernation as it heads toward a new planet to help a new colony of human life to thrive. After a freak storm hits the spaceship, one of of the passengers, Jim (Chris Pratt), awakens 90 years too early and finds himself alone on board the ship while the rest of the passengers sleep. A year passes with Jim alone and afraid until Jim decides to wake up fellow passenger Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) to alleviate his lonliness and share the experience with her.
The characters are okay and they deliver their lines well, there’s some good back and forth between the characters, especially in some of the more tense scenes and for the first half of the film, Passengers builds nicely. That built tension however, leads absolutely nowhere and it devloves into a dramaless finale that defies logic.
Its a shame really because the film has promise but its execution doesn’t hit the mark. The genre issues aside, the pacing of the film is horribly inconsistent. The lighting and music are probably the best takeaways though. The haunting chords thay accompany the mystery growing between the characters is excellent and really adds to the film. Apart from that, theres not much else Passengers does right.
Overall, Passengers is a missed opportunity. In trying to please everyone, it loses focus and becomes a mediocre what-if. If the editing had been better, if the script had been a bit more polished and if the pacing had been tweaked it could have been a decent sci fi film but alas, it is not. Unfortunately, Passengers fails to hit the mark and like most of its crew on board the ship asleep, its not going to be remembered in years to come.