This decade has seen some of the best science fiction and space films that we’ve ever had, it seems that each year we’re treated to a new adventure expertly crafted for our cinematic entertainment; ‘Gravity’, ‘Interstellar’, ‘The Martian’, ‘Arrival’, the list goes on. So with two of the most in demand leading performers in Hollywood at the helm of new sci-fi flick ‘Passengers’ could Morten Tyldum’s latest effort join the ranks of these modern classics?
As I’ve already mentioned ‘Passengers’ features two very popular performers in the shape of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Previously seen fighting dinosaurs and having inter-galactic dance offs, Pratt is quickly becoming the go to leading man for all big blockbusters. He has quite the task on his hands here though as for a large proportion of the film he has to fill the screen all by himself with few to no other characters being present. I thought Pratt struggled with this and I can’t say that I was convinced by his performance. Thankfully things get better when Lawrence’s character is brought into the story. Once Pratt has Lawrence to bounce off, in more ways than one, he becomes much more natural. The pair certainly have good chemistry although I do find it funny how of all the people to wake up on this spaceship it had to be too ‘beautiful’ ones. The film doesn’t shy away from this fact either as it includes as many shots of Pratt’s ass and Lawrence in a bathing suit as it possibly can. Leads aside there are very few other actors in this film. Michael Sheen has the largest supporting role, as barman Arthur, in scenes which clearly draw influence from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’. Sheen is playful in his role and suits the character well. Laurence Fishburne also shows up briefly, he’s good in his role but ultimately anyone could have played his character.
The soundtrack to this film comes courtesy of film score giant, Thomas Newman. I am a big fan of Newman’s work and the musical compositions are just as impressive here as they have been in past films. However, there is a striking resemblance between his work here and his work with Pixar with many pieces, as a result I thought that in the more uneventful moments the score didn’t fit. It took away from the spectacle and gravity of the situation and the narrative, leaving me feeling that I was watching ‘WALL-E’, rather than a live action space adventure. Nonetheless, Newman excels in the more grand moments as his score injects excitement and adds real stakes into the action. I can’t say that I was particularly blown away by the narrative itself though. There is a dullness clouding over the whole film which never really lifts, the promotion for the film suggests a much more layered and almost sinister story but this is never really delivered. Although I feel that I can’t hold this against the film too much, it doesn’t tell the story that I wanted it to but instead is complacent to tell it’s own, as unambitious as that may have been.
‘Passengers’ tells its story just fine, the content never reaches the potential of its interesting premise but is acceptable nonetheless. The chemistry that the leads have makes for an easily enjoyable film but there are most definitely issues with the score here. The film isn’t nearly as bad as people will make it out to be and whilst it’s surely not great by any stretch of the imagination, it is unquestionably watchable.
Rating – 6/10
Question: What are your favourite performances from Pratt & Lawrence?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.