Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Passengers Film Review

I caught the film Passengers yesterday. The Starship Avalon is 30 years into it's 120 year journey to the new Homestead II Colony when it passes through a meteor shower. The resulting damage causes one of the 5000 passenger hibernation pods to malfunction, and Chris Pratt wakes 90 years earlier than he should. It's life for Jim but not as he knows it. He is the only one awake onboard a fully stocked cruise ship with android waiters and a friendly android barman played by Michael Sheen. And who else would you want to spend the next 90 years with but Michael Sheen?

And so begins Passengers directed by Morten Tyldum, which I think sadly has been unfairly criticised and Chris Pratt's character demonised.

For those seeking quiet time the opportunity is fabulous. The best bedroom suite in the joint, although breakfast is a tad disappointing when you aren't very high up the pecking order. With black coffee the only drink dispensed at your level for breakfast. But that isn't really a problem when you can order any food and drink you want across the rest of the ship. So I'm not sure why Jim carried on eating in the breakfast refectory with it's meagre options.

But the experience is amazing with space wing walks, virtual dance-offs (although he never seems to get any better), and your own first class sports facilities including swimming pool with space views and a basketball court. But Jim is lonely and none of the toys on this flying cruise ship can take away the fact he is going to have to live out his life alone except for an android barman. As an engineer he has tried every way possible to gain entry to the empty Bridge to contact Earth, seeking a way to go back to sleep hibernation. But Aurora's 258 crew are not due to wake up until 4 months before arrival. In a moment of despair he considers ending the loneliness. But then meets Aurora played by sleeping beauty Jennifer Lawrence. A writer looking to pen the story about the Homestead II new colony. And then return to Earth to tell it.

Life sure is wonderful for Jim now. Especially since Aurora is further up the class level and has better breakfast options. He plants a tree and it's the beginning of Eden. Meanwhile something is wrong on board the ship. But the malfunction fortunately awakens crew member Laurence Fishburne who has access to the Bridge, and can attempt to figure out the problem. The gravity goes haywire in a spectacular series of images. But he malfunctions himself and the now non-speaking pair have to band together to save the crew and fellow passengers.

Because the film poster says that there is a reason they were woken up, I had visions of an Alien style threat and maybe our two passengers have been woken early to deal with it before landing. As the heroes often are. And maybe one of the aliens slips through to land incubator style and terrorise the population. Or maybe that's just a pre-Alien Ridley Scott film waiting to happen.

Anyway Passengers wasn't like that at all. I enjoyed the intergalactic ride and can see the film doing well with special effects awards. I certainly do not condone what Jim did and challenge anyone faced with eternity to make another choice.

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