Since the very basis of science fiction is to spin a yarn around the implausible, let’s accept that 5,000 earth people are ready to buy a ticket to move to a new planet for a new beginning. They hop aboard commercial spaceship Avalon, and lie snug inside a hibernation pod with the promise that when they awaken 120 years later, they’ll land in Homestead II, a new world where they can make a fresh beginning.
But one major mishap and hey presto, passenger Jim Preston awakens 90 years too early. The ship’s not equipped for such an eventuality and he can’t be put back to sleep. He’s doomed to die aboard Avalon long before it reaches Homestead. But while he’s alive, he has everything that a human would ever want. There’s even cheerful bartender, Arthur the android, on board who makes delightful conversation and fixes the perfect drink. Breakfast, gym, movies, popcorn, swimming, basketball, dancing, Jim can have anything he wants except human company. It’s soon like solitary confinement which can drive you crazy with boredom. It drives the lonesome handsome to fall in love with hibernating beauty, Aurora Lane, a writer.
One year later, Jim does what he shouldn’t have. He wakes up Aurora. Now her life’s doomed too. As she puts it, they’ll be forever travelling, never reaching. But love and romance are inevitable and they date in style, in fancy restaurants where they’re the only patrons and they go dancing where they have the floor to themselves.
Like all relationship stories wherever they may be set, there’s a break-up before a monumental crisis looms where they must join forces to save Avalon and the sleeping passengers from being roasted to death. Systems rebooted, romance restored.
A happy ending for the romance is their new beginning. Now if only science fiction were also able to conjure the perfect script, Passengers wouldn’t have been so predictable. Director Mortin Tyldum flounders on where to take his film, with decreasing excitement over an impending disaster.
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are efficient as the couple in love in outer space. Michael Sheen as Arthur the android provides a bit of mirth. And there are puns floating around about giving each other space.
But for a plot that gets lost somewhere in the galaxy, Passengers gets a 2-stars rating.