ReviewsTelevision & Film

PASSENGERS Is A Strange Romance in Space (No Spoilers)


Written By Jon Spaihts
Directed by Morten Tyldum
Produced by Sony Pictures
Copyright 2016

[Photos Courtesy of Sony Pictures.]

If you want to see a lot of Jennifer Lawrence and even more of Chris Pratt, since he has more nearly nude scenes, then go see it. If you want more, then don’t go see it. The story revolves around the romance between the two main characters, even to the expense of other story elements. The romance itself is deeply flawed, which is one of the best parts of the story. As truly awful as the flaws are, it took some courage from the writers and producers to go there.

Is this seat taken?

The movie asks one “what if?” question and ignores all others that arise from it. It’s beautiful and glossy and cost way too much to make for the entertainment value. The first part of the movie was done just as well with Tom Hanks on an island with a beach ball.

Passengers was in Development Hell for almost ten years. Jon Spaihts was an unknown writer when Passengers was picked for the Black List, which is a list of the best unproduced projects. Having his script picked for the Black List helped him to land gigs like Prometheus and Doctor Strange. Different studios, actors and dollar amounts have been attached to the script. I think I might have liked the version with Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams for fifty million.

The most surprising thing about that history is that a decade is plenty of time to fix the gaping plot holes. So why didn’t they?


Chris Pratt does a fine job of entertaining us, particularly when he is alone. Jennifer Lawrence is a strong heroine. Laurence Fishburne is on screen for so little time that his talent is wasted, but he does a lot with that short time. Michael Sheen is delightful as the android barkeep.

Chris Pratt stars as Jim in Columbia Pictures' PASSENGERS.
What do you mean I look like Crichton? What is “Farscape”?

What you need to keep in mind going into it is that this is not a science fiction movie. It’s a romantic comedy, where deception is proof of how much someone loves you, unlikely situations don’t have to be explained, and the purpose of obstacles is to keep the two main characters apart.



Teresa Wickersham

Teresa Wickersham has dabbled in fanfic, gone to a few conventions, created some award-winning (and not so award winning) masquerade costumes, worked on the Save Farscape campaign, and occasionally presents herself as a fluffy bunny or a Krampus.

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