After Jim is accidentally awoken from his hibernation pod on a ship transporting him and 4999 other passengers to a new planet, he decides to wake up a fellow passenger to spend the next 90 years with.
At the centre of Passengers is a tricky moral dilemma. This moral issue has been scarce from the marketing material but it's important to know when discussing the film. Jim spends one year in solitude aboard the Avalon, but after nearly losing his mind, he is given the impossible choice of waking up a fellow passenger to make his life easier.
He chooses an attractive young woman to spend the rest of his days with, for obvious reasons. Of course, by waking up this passenger, he is ruining her life because she'll never be alive to make it to the new planet of Homestead II. This moral question is by far the most interesting aspect of Passengers, and for a while, the film is both entertaining and emotionally quite compelling. But of course, with a budget this high, explosions and action need to fit in somewhere and that's where the film loses all emotional steam and becomes your typical Sci-fi blockbuster.
Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) stars as Jim Preston, an engineer who is travelling to Homestead II for a fresh start. After a year of solitude, he wrongly decides to wake up another sleeping passenger. Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence, Joy) is a journalist who's migrating for her career. She wants to spend a year on a new planet, travel back to Earth and write a story about her time there. Both actors are capable in their roles and have effective chemistry with one another. Chris Pratt doesn't quite hit the emotional or dramatic highs of Lawrence's performance but he does well enough in his role.
The visual effects and cinematography of Passengers are brilliant. The production design of the Avalon is wonderful and director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) makes us very aware of the ships parameters, giving us a sense of scale and location.
It just so happens that Passengers greatest asset is also it biggest weakness. The idea of technically ruining someone else's life to make yours better is thought provoking and emotionally stimulating and for a while, Passengers does something with that concept. It's in the film's conclusion where I wasn't satisfied with a certain character's choice, it didn't feel natural, it felt catered to a mainstream audience hoping for a happy ending. Passengers would have benefited from a deeper look into this moral dilemma.
Passengers has a solid first half, we get to spend some time with two very likeable actors in a visually enjoyable world, but the real hook of the story is sidelined in favour of a more Hollywood appropriate finale. I'm giving Passengers a 6/10.