Monday, January 2, 2017

Movie Review: Passengers

Passengers:  Three Stars

It's early evening on the second day of the year, and other than having to go and find a new keyboard as my 'f' key is sticking, I've found that I've taken in my first film for the year. I wasn't going to do this today - I was going to get a bit of study and writing and ironing done, but no - Jay suggested taking in this film, so this is what I did instead.

The premise looked good. The cast looks great - Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. From the trailers, the special effects look great.

That's the thing - from the outside, it looks great. That's where it ends.

What they spent on CGI and sets and effects, they certainly didn't put into the script - which is my main beef with the film. That, as well as the every so slightly creepy premise of the film.

Chris Pratt plays Jim, an engineer on the flight that is supposed to be sending him and the 5000 odd other people to the other side of the universe to set up a colony. the trip takes 120 years. After a heavy meteor storm, something goes awry and Jim is woken from his endless sleep. 

He's the only one awake on the craft, apart from a bartender android, Arthur,  Thankully, Jim's an engineer, which means he can be annoying, endearing and able to fix things all at once. 

After a year on his own, talking to the hapless Arthur (played with alacrity by Michael Sheen) Jim makes the bold move to wake Aurora - a writer.

This is the creepy premise. You think about it. Man on his own obsesses about waking a beautiful woman to be with him. He's never met this woman in the real world. There is no way they can return to earth. They cannot contact earth. It's just going to be the two of them.

So by the middle of the film you're wondering whether this is going to be an intergalactic stalker film. It isn't, but part of me wishes it was. The film has that sort of foreboding in it's early sections. This is where the film misses the mark.

Indeed, could this be classed as a bit of a poor man's "2001: A Space Odyssey"?

There is a part of me that wishes that this movie had the Kubrick touch - says she who doesn't really like Kubrick that much.

I've said enough about what happens here. What I haven't mentioned is that Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence do their best with the dodgy script. This doesn't reach the heady heights of "The Martian", which has a similar premise of having people lost in space with time being critical, even if time-critical in this movie is nearly a century.

What the film does well is the special effects. Space has never looked more glamorous or enticing, even if the ship appears to be malfunctioning. There are a couple of scenes in the ship's pool - somewhere I would love to swim. It's also interesting looking at what an engineer can do given enough time, no duct tape and a few resources.

This film is a beautiful diversion - something to see with that errant free movie ticket that's about to expire at the back of your wallet. It's great to look at, but could do without the gaping holes in the plot and the cruddy script.

The jury is still on this one. If it wasn't for the great effects I'd say save this one until it makes a visit to Netflix. The special effects, however, are worth the price of the movie ticket alone.

1 comment:

FletcherBeaver said...

Why would the space ship have a swimming pool, if they were all supposed to be asleep?