Imagine Chris Pratt as an interstellar Robinson Crusoe and Jennifer Lawrence as his reluctant Girl Friday and you will have an idea of the set-up of glossy sci-fi adventure Passengers.
The pair, mechanical engineer Jim and writer Aurora, are among the 5,000 passengers on board the starship Avalon, taking a 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet called Homestead II. Along with the crew, they are supposed to be in cryogenic suspension for the trip, but an asteroid strike sets in motion a series of events that sees them woken from their hibernation pods, some 90 years too soon. And they have no way of returning to cryosleep …
Like the spaceship, Passengers hits a giant narrative obstacle fairly early on (to say more would be a spoiler). Even so, director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters, The Imitation Game) manages to steer the movie successfully to its destination. En route, he successfully navigates passages of existential drama; moments of comedy, courtesy of Michael Sheen’s blandly perky robot bartender; and episodes of Gravity-style peril and derring-do. But the fact that the film works as well as it does, and that we buy the developing romance between Jim and Aurora, is entirely down to Pratt and Lawrence’s stellar charisma.
Certificate 12. Runtime 116mins. Director Morten Tyldum
Passengers is available on digital download from 21 April and 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™ & DVD from 8 May.