Thursday, April 13, 2017

Passengers: If You Want a Good Time

Movie Review: Passengers (2016)
Version: Library Borrow

I couldn't tell from the preview trailers what this movie was really about, and to be honest, the trailers didn't do the film justice. I'm glad that I ignored them because Passengers is a terrific film.

Jim Preston and Aurora Lane have booked a spaceflight to a world 120 years into their future, their flight time slowed through cryogenics. But there's a malfunction on this dreamy spaceship awakens them much too early, and they must try to fix the problem or learn how to deal with arriving at their destination dead of old age. Many cataclysms await them in the attempt, of course.

Chris Pratt is the irrepressible Jim Preston, a lowly mechanic booked on the cheap ticket. Jennifer Lawrence is the smart, indomitable writer booked on first class. Together, they navigate the uncertain future. But there's a secret held between them that threatens their collaboration and its efficacy is upheld only at the discretion of the seemingly trustworthy robotic waiter Arthur, played brilliantly by Michael Sheen. Just when all hell is breaking loose, another soul is awakened early, Gus Mancuso, a member of the crew, played deftly by Laurence Fishburne. Not everyone's future is bright and rosey, as you might surmise.

As a science fiction flick, Passengers is well done stylistically, with excellent special effects, and thematically, with a great story line. Even the science seems pretty well intact. As a drama, the film is full of plot twists and complex conflicts that keep you engaged in the one hour 56 minute run. As a romance story, it has it's great moments as well, as Preston and Lane fall in love over their roles as the sole couple run wild in this enormous ship hurtling through the glorious vastness of space with only themselves (and, well, mechanical Arthur) to answer to. But then, there's that secret between them.

In the end, the questions are, will they find a way to go back to sleep to survive the trip to their new world, or will they find a way to live their romance out together, or will some other calamity swallow their ship and their lives much too early? And then there's that damned secret.

From the movie trailers, I was prepared to not particularly like this film. But this is why I rarely give much credence to movie trailers. This is a great film. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are always fun to watch. Michael Sheen shines in his role, and Laurence Fishburne is elegant in his portrayal. And just when you think you know where the story is headed, up pops surprise after surprise, right up to the end.

If you want a good time, watch Passengers.

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