Passengers feels very much like a Twilight Zone episode stretched out to fit the length of a feature film. So I’ll describe it as Rod Serling would have;
“Jim Preston is a man of simple tastes, he enjoys a steady life; sports, entertainment and most importantly, human contact.
Jim boards the Avalon, a luxury spacecraft which will take him and over 5,000 other passengers to the distant colony planet of Homestead II, 5,000 passengers who shall remain cryogenically asleep for the entirety of the 120 year voyage.
Unfortunately, Jim woke up early, 90 years too early, and he cannot return to cryogenic sleep. After a year of trying to go back to sleep and entertaining himself aboard the empty spacecraft, one of the other passengers wakes up.
What will happen to Jim when he and the other passenger make first contact, will they fall in love? Will they try to kill each other? Will they create intensely complex dance routines to perform to children? Find out in this realm we call…
…The Twilight Zone.”
-Not Rod Serling
That’s basically it, spare for the third act when Passengers loses its way.
Passengers can be easily separated by its three main acts;
Act One – Jim is alone.
If the credits started rolling at the end of this act or the beginning of the next, it would be one of the best short films I’d ever seen; a short film called Jim is Alone starring Chris Pratt as Jim (good performance) and Michael Sheen as Arthur, the android bartender (great performance).
This act is brilliant at entertaining us with its “what if?” scenario and then Jennifer Lawrence wakes up…
Act Two – Jim is not alone. Aurora is awake.
This second act is a nice continuation and a cute situation-romance with a surprisingly underwhelming performance from Lawrence.
During this act, Passengers still maintains its “what if?” story although it’s not as intriguing as before. Then something else happens…
Act Three – Jim and Aurora are not alone. An iceberg just hit the boat.
By this point, the film threw out it’s original concept and in doing so, threw me out of caring.
I was just waiting to see how it ended. I didn’t particularly care for the specifics. It was a bored curiosity, like microwaving a banana to see if it turns a new shade of yellow. Ooh now I want to try that…
Act 3.1 – Tim is feeling entertained to a degree.
My first reaction after watching Passengers was “Hey, that was pretty good! I should recommend it to my readers!” which then slowly changed to “Hey, that was pretty good at the beginning, okay in the middle and then iffy at the end! I should recommend it to those interested!”.
Act 3.1.1 – Tim has MIXED FEELINGS.
The story starts off strong as a really interesting sci-fi drama about isolation, then it segues quite nicely into a good situation romance about isolation, then it segues quite poorly into Space Titanic… and Space Titanic doesn’t care for “isolation”.
If the trailer turns you off then you should not watch Passengers but if the concept colours you interested, you should watch Passengers because I’m sure you’ll enjoy the first half at least.
What did you think of Space Titanic? Should The Twilight Zone be made into a movie? Oh wait. Nevermind.
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