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Passengers board Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt for a sci-fi adventure

This intergalactic journey showcases stars of a different kind along with thrills


Passengers (PG13)

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt Directed by Morten Tyldum

 

A spaceship is transporting 5,000 hibernating earthlings to a distant colony planet in the greatest mass migration in human history. Chris Pratt stars alongside Jennifer Lawrence in the sci-fi romance Passengers as two strangers who awake prematurely with 90 years still to go on the 120-year voyage when their sleep pods malfunction: Pratt is a mechanic, Jim Preston; Lawrence is journalist Aurora Lane, glamorous and self-assured. 

We can think of no more attractive, personable pair we’d rather be stranded in the galaxy with on a vessel so luxurious. 

The first half-hour is a study in devastating solitude as Jim, all alone, tries maintaining his sanity. He plays basketball in the Basketball Court, shops in the Grand Concourse, samples the universe of restaurants from Japanese to French. There is also an Art Deco bar, where Michael Sheen is the android mixologist Arthur serving humour drier than his whiskies during Jim’s nightly drop-ins. 

Arthur is Jim’s sole companion, until Jim is joined by Aurora. Finally, someone to play basketball with, dine with, connect and fall in love with! Pratt’s and Lawrence’s chemistry is a treat. 

Can Jim and Aurora somehow endure long enough to arrive at their destination as the Adam and Eve of a new civilisation? 

Their relationship is a fatalistic mix of uncertainty and existential aimlessness. And it falls dramatically apart the same time the ship does: We should mention Jim has been hiding a terrible secret. 

This final act is a deep-space survival adventure of the couple racing to fix the technical glitch with the lives of everyone on board at stake. 

Norwegian director Morten Tyldum, whose 2014 The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch won the Oscars’ Best Adapted Screenplay, is unfussy even while transitioning between genres in an imaginative story. He leaves the talented and charismatic duo to steer an exciting emotional journey that rewards with its optimism. 4/5

 

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