I kept wishing Passengers were a book. It’s a grand premise, a scope so expansive that necessitates the complexity of detail of a novel. A starship, on auto-pilot mode, is on a hundred-yearjourney to a new colony planet, with thousands of passengers hibernating on board.
Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), however, wakes up horrified that he’s woken up 90 years ahead of time, due to an anomaly in the ship. 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. Passengers is concerned more about resolving the technological anomaly that is destroying the ship.
I wished Passengers had persisted with the subject matter at its heart, the romance. 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 into romance in isolation, and whether this over-exposure comes to hamper their relationship.