Passengers Review: An unsatisfying Castaway in space

But Passengers is concerned more about resolving the technological anomaly that is destroying the ship.

Published: 06th January 2017 07:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th January 2017 07:48 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

I kept wishing Passengers were a book. It’s a grand premise, a scope so expansive that necessitates the complexity of detail that can only be found in the descriptive pages of a novel. A starship, on auto-pilot mode, is on a hundred-year-journey to a new colony planet, with thousands of passengers hibernating on board.

Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), however, wakes up to the horrific realisation that he’s woken up 90 years ahead of time, due to an anomaly in the ship. The hibernation pods aren’t designed for reuse. This is Castaway in science fiction universe. Jim’s prolonged period of isolation is on a starship, amid the company of thousands of people in hibernation.

The best bits of the film have him and another passenger, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), courting each other on the starship. It’s the ultimate wish-fulfilling romance for a sci-fi fan. A romance that’s about swimming in an infinity pool—and the phrasing takes on new meaning, when you consider that the pool comes with a view of space.

A romance that’s about wearing a space suit and hopping out of the aircraft for a brief stroll amid the stars. A romance that’s about having a drink at the starship bar and making conversation with the android humanoid waiter. The special effects are wonderful, from something as expected as Tron-like lights switching on and off automatically to the complicated design of the starship itself. So long as Passengers remains about the romance, it bursts with an ethereal quality.

However, sadly, it soon gets found out. The premise of the whole romance is deeply disturbing, something akin to the fatal flaw of Dr. Mann in Interstellar.

It needed an exploratory discussion over the very nature of right and wrong. But Passengers is concerned more about resolving the technological anomaly that is destroying the ship. “We’re in a sinking ship,” as Aurora dully puts it. It’s concerned more about the improbable transitioning of Jim, a mechanical engineer, into an aerospace engineer.

It’s concerned more about the chief deck officer (Lawrence Fishburne) and his terminal illness. Instead, I wished Passengers had persisted with the subject matter at its heart, the romance between Jim and Aurora. I wished it had concerned itself with the discussion about how we are plagued by the need to seek companionship. I wished it had delved in detail into their romance in isolation, and whether or not, this over-exposure comes to hamper their relationship. I wished Passengers were a book.

Film: Passengers
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Lawrence Fishburne
Rating:  (2/5)


Stay up to date on all the latest Entertainment English news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.