Movie Review: "Passengers"

John Thomas, Movie Critic
"Passengers" features stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.
At last, a science fiction film for thinking adults. Not a comic book story acted by bizarre creatures in spandex costumes, strange makeup, weird contact lenses and pointy ears, running around shooting at one another. In spite of the distant future setting, this is a believable story acted by real people, wearing regular clothes moving around in stunning environments. Our planet is in trouble (believable), so a wealthy corporation, Homestead II, has stepped in and created another habitable planet for us, 120 years away. 
Homestead II has also conveniently created a spaceship to be used in transporting passengers and supplies to this distant location (also believable). Well into the flight, a small technical glitch (more realism) begins a series of reactions, eventually causing the unanticipated awakening of two passengers – 90 years too soon.
The first passenger to awaken is Jim (Chris Pratt), an engineer. Jim spends his first few waking days ambling through the gorgeous interiors in search of a decent cup of coffee, if not companionship. He does, however, find Arthur (Michael Sheen), an android bartender who dispenses philosophical advice along with whiskey on the rocks. The two become friends. The appearance of a second awakened passenger, Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) causes a stir in Jim’s heart, brain and I suppose the rest of his body. She was en route to Homestead II to live for a year and then return to earth with a story about her experiences – she is a writer.
Because of these unforeseen awakenings, all things onboard change. Their beautiful, fully automated space craft, so perfectly planned, has no contingency plan for returning Jim and Aurora to the “sleep mode.” But, who wants to sleep anyway? With such lavish accommodations in which to live, breathtaking views of outer space, basketball and jogging, endless varieties of cuisine to enjoy and, of course, there’s Arthur; Jim and Aurora do their best to find pleasure with what they have.
Morten Tyldum (director) has masterfully wrapped thrills, adventures, challenges, scary episodes, romance, fine dining into an intergalactic blanket of artistry, humor and taste. The dreamlike vistas of outer space, the occasional passing star or galactic phenomenon only enhance the story and not distract from it. It wouldn’t be a real science fiction film without special effects and this movie has an exceptional one of stunning proportions, staggering beauty and breathless anticipation.



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