Friday, January 6, 2017

Movie Review - Passengers by Stephen Signor

Run Time: 116 min.
After being in suspended animation for what was supposed to be 120 years in route to a new home, Jim Preston is awakened 90 years too early. Pratt is brilliant as passenger Preston who must deal with the loneliness of space even though he is surrounded by 5,000 others who for some unknown reason remain in stasis. There is offer of comfort in the form of a bartender who surprisingly is a droid.  

Arthur, played by Michael Sheen (2104 Kill the Messenger) is this mechanical wonder who lends an ear and serves up advice and a very dry sense of humor. The addition of this character I thought was the right added touch to momentarily distract away of the ensuing crisis. However Preston remains consumed by loneliness and awakens Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence).

Since Aurora is also the name of the title character in Sleeping Beauty what you have is a celestial prince and a romance made in heaven; well, close enough. Lawrence, in typical fashion, is successful in pulling off a character that one moment is filled with love, and resentment the next. The unforeseen elements that develop are conveyed with precision by director Morten Tyldum (2104 Imitation Game) and writer Jon Spaihts (Dr. Strange, 2016). 

One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile performers best known for his role in the Matrix series, Lawrence Fishburn, will awaken just in time to reveal and help unravel the mystery. Although a small role as far as screen time, his larger than life presence adds to the drama. 

What really made this film work was the lack of a long list of characters to introduce and keep track of. To this end, there was limited dialog that was replaced by the realistic feel of the passengers’ surroundings. Special and visual effects company Digital Domain and Oscar nominee Rodrigo Prieto (2013 The Wolf of Wall Street) provided the cinematography for the environment that extenuated the vastness of the space craft as well as the universe outside. This was truly spectacular! Scenes that required effects like zero gravity were mind boggling. 

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. I don’t know what took so long to bring this to the public, but I am forever grateful.

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