Filmreview Passengers

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt play the lead characters in the original science fiction movie Passengers from Sony Pictures.

The Norwegian director Morten Tyldum directed the production with a budget of over 150 million Euro, the highest production budget ever for an original film. Morten Tyldum became famous in Hollywood in 2014 through his movie The Imitation Game. He received many awards for his war drama about the British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, who broke the German Enigma code during World War 2.

His latest movie Passengers is set in the future, on the Starship Avalon which holds 5,000 hibernating colonists and 258 crew members. It’s a 120-year journey, one which will bring them to the remote colony planet Homestead II in another galaxy.

Do you remember how they said the Titanic was unsinkable? That its water tight compartments would never give way, even if the ship hit an iceberg? The same kind of hubris is cleverly worked into the plot of Morten Tyldum’s sci-fi movie Passengers.
Just like with the Titanic, it’s posited that the sleek Avalon is impenetrable, that nothing can go wrong with the pods, with none of its passengers waking up early and trapped on the giant ship, doomed to grow old before arriving at the scheduled destination lightyears away.

At the beginning of the movie all passengers are in cryo sleep, until one of the hibernation pods malfunctions. Because of this, one passenger, mechanic Jim Preston (played by Chris Pratt), awakes 90 years too early (30 years into the 120-year journey), leaving him all alone on the giant ship with no company except an android bartender named Arthur (played by Michael Sheen). After discovering it’s impossible to fix the problem, facing him with a long lonely time ahead, he decides after over a year on his own – somewhat selfish – to wake another passenger, author Aurora Lane (played by Jennifer Lawrence), fully knowing that doing so would also exile her for her remaining life. Having company brings them closer together, as being the only two people on Starship Avalon inevitably leads to romance. What follows is not only how the two cope with her discovering why she woke up too soon, but also a major malfunction of the Starship itself, as Jim and Aurora face the potential destruction of the Avalon that could kill the thousands of hibernating colonists on board. Beyond that, it’s a film meant to provoke thoughts on what you might do in similar situations.