Movie Review: Passengers

Over the years there have been many movies about traveling in space, but nothing like the new movie Passengers, that stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. I thought that the idea behind this movie was a great one. Just have two characters in the majority of the entire film, traveling in space at 1/2 the speed of light on a trip inside a huge spaceship that will take them 120 years to reach their destination. I believe that 500 or 1000 years from now we will have the technology to travel the universe like this but it will most likely always be impossible to ever travel at or faster than the speed of light. This restriction means that wherever humanity wants to travel to, it is going to take a very long time to get where we want to go. This basic law of physics will make it mandatory that people who travel for many years in space will have to be put into suspended animation so that they never age, otherwise the entire idea of traveling a very long distance in space will never be possible for humanity. This idea of long term space travel and suspended animation is the basic plot of this film and I also believe that no matter how great our technology becomes, there is always the high probability that something will go wrong and in this case its the spaceship getting hit with an asteroid field 30 years into the trip.

There is a major twist after the first 30 minutes of this film that I will not reveal and it is this conflict that provides the main action in the second half of the movie. I also thought that this conflict was a good idea and is also provided a believable story line that supported the original idea of traveling 120 years in space. One problem with this movie will be obvious to anyone who sees it. With mostly two people and one robot played by Micheal Sheen for a whole movie, there has to be a story that fills two hours and at times, the story seemed slow and somewhat boring. I thought that there was enough science fiction and special effects that provided enough of a distraction so that this problem did not ruin the film however. Despite this, Jennifer Lawrence’s character at one point asks Chris Pratt, “so what is there to do on this ship?” I thought that was a telling moment midway through the film. For me, the special effects highlight of the movie was when the ship lost gravity and Lawrence was stuck in a water bubble while swimming in a pool. I have never seen anything quite like this before and I admired the computer technology that made that scene possible.

In the last part of the movie, the actor Lawrence Fishburn makes a surprise appearance as it seems that his suspension pod also failed. His appearance as the Captain of the spaceship provides more insight into what has gone wrong due to his expertise and his security clearances to get to different parts of the ship. At the very end of the movie the actor Andy Garcia makes an appearance and he has no lines in the film at all, which I found rather surprising due to his fame as an actor. Perhaps his lines were cut when the film was released, but despite this, I am surprised he took this very small part.

I give this movie a medium recommendation because of the special effects and the very good idea presented in the story and the acting was overall very solid. Another good movie that is similar to this one is Gravity, which came out in 2013, with even better space travel special effects.

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