Moral dilemma in search of a new world

SPACE TALK: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in the sci-fi romance ‘Passengers’, now showing at Rosehill Cinema

Passengers, with Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne. Directed by Morten Tyldum. 3/5.

IN search of a new world and a new life, mechanic Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) boards a spaceship on a routine 120-year long journey to a new home at planet Homestead 2 where he, alongside 5 000 other passengers, will start a new human colony.

For the duration of the journey Preston and his fellow passengers, including the spaceship crew, remain in special medical hibernation pods.

Bewilderingly, Preston wakes up and realises he is the only one awake and the journey to the new colony is another 90 years. In a state of frenzy, Preston tries without success to reinstate his hibernation and spends the next year alone on the ship with only a charismatic robot barman as company.

Faced with a moral dilemma, Preston succumbs to his desire for companionship and awakens a beautiful journalist and aspiring writer, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) from her sleep.

Despite being consumed by guilt for his action, Preston omits the truth behind Lane’s break in hibernation.

As the couple, who are both something for the eye, face living the rest of their lives on board, with every luxury they could ever ask for, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction.

With more and more malfunctioning devices, the couple soon discover the ship is in grave danger and, with the lives of 5 000 sleeping passengers at stake, only they can save the vessel.

As a sci-fi romance, the film is entertaining, a bit slow in pace and then has sudden bursts of action and suspense where Preston and Lane have to fix the spaceship in very little time before they all perish. The reason for Preston’s early awakening from hibernation becomes clear when the couple discover a meteor that has ripped through the ships’ exterior and damaged the operating system.

Beside a few close calls where Preston opts to sacrifice himself in order to save the ship, with spectacular special effects, and damsel in distress turned heroine, Lane, rescuing Preston from being stranded in space, the only real action is between the couple in quiet romantic moments.

There are no complications of wars between galaxies and aliens. Rather disappointingly it’s about a man and a woman bound by helplessness and hope. Passengers remind one of The Martian except it’s a lot less compelling.

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