Passengers had potential but suffers from its bad writing and lacklustre acting.
The first 15 minutes of Passengers is arguably the best part of the entire film because those few minutes do an excellent job at capturing humanity’s long-held desire to traverse the stars and explore the galaxy.
Those first 15 minutes also lay the foundation for what could – I say again, could – have been a really interesting sci-fi film: It’s the year 2000-and-distant-future, and Earth is overpopulated and polluted (surprise, surprise). To better their lives, people travel to privately-operated extra-terrestrial colonies.
The catch is that travelling to these worlds is expensive and takes 100 years. Luckily, these brave adventurers get to travel in suspended animation, ready to wake up when they arrive. Unfortunately, one of these interstellar globetrotters is awoken 90 years early, which sucks.
After the 30 minute mark, Passengers starts to fall downhill.
The acting is lacking. I am slightly ashamed to say I laughed almost every time there was an intimate scene featuring the two protagonists (Jim and Aurora). While Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss Everdeen was excellent, her portrayal of Aurora in this particular film was lacking. Chris Pratt was okay… but that’s it. I didn’t feel a particularly strong connection to either character.
There are of course some things I liked about Passengers, like the graphics and set-pieces, however, fancy CGI alone does not a good film make.
It’s a real shame. The main premise of the film – a man wakes up on a ship all alone while travelling to an off-planet colony – is great. Personally, I think Passengers should have been a great thriller or horror film, but as it stands, Passengers is lacking.
Overall, Passengers is much like The Island (2005) – it has a very interesting premise, but the whole film falls apart before the halfway mark due to lacklustre writing. I wouldn’t call it a bad film, but I wouldn’t watch it if there was something better on.