What do you get when you take the charisma and likability of You’ve Got Mail, the solitude and cabin fever of Moon, mix those up in a blender and pour them into the space cruise liner of WALL-E? That seems to be the question that director Morten Tyldum (of The Imitation Game fame) and writer Jon Spaihts (writer of Prometheus and 2016’s Doctor Strange) set out to answer with their new film Passengers.

The space vehicle (pun intended) stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence navigating the galaxy aboard a ship called the Avalon. They are headed for an uninhabited planet known as Homestead-II with the intent to build a new world and start over. The only catch, Chris Pratt’s hibernation chamber malfunctions and wakes him up 30 years into the 120-year trip, leaving him stranded on the ship alone with 90 years to go. And there, our story begins.

Since we’re a Top 5 movie podcast, we like to keep our reviews in line with the theme, so the following are the top 5 things to know about the movie Passengers:

1. The Cast is Really Good

You’d be hard-pressed to find two more likable and charismatic actors nowadays than Pratt and Lawrence (Prawrence?….Jennipratt?……Chrinnifer Lawratt?). While it’s true that Jennifer Lawrence can act circles around Chris Pratt (a High Five favorite), they are both given an environment where their chemistry and magnetism can shine. Add to that mix a wonderful performance by Michael Sheen as an android bartender, Laurence Fishburne as a ship commander, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Andy Garcia cameo, you are presented with a movie held together by a strong cast that you’ll enjoy watching for close to two hours.

passengers Chris Pratt Jennifer Lawrence

2. The Concept is Intriguing

What would you do if you were accidentally trapped on a spaceship, alone, for 90 years. No, seriously, what would you do? In pure Home Alone fashion, our protagonists find themselves partaking in “living the good life” of no structure or rules, to quickly be hit with the realization that when that scenario never ends, a strange blessing can turn into an un-livable curse. The ethical quandaries in play are teased, but quickly abandoned, and leave room some improvement as there’s a very good film hiding within the halls of the starship Avalon.

3. The World is Well-Realized 

Science fiction movies, especially ones built around the idea of space travel, usually fall into one of two categories: completely futuristic (i.e. Star Wars, Dune, etc) and “near-future” movies that take place in a world we recognize with modern updates (i.e. Minority Report, Her, and the like). Passengers falls into the latter category and builds a world that feels both familiar and futuristic. Without spoiling anything, this story takes place in a world where interstellar travel is not only possible, but is common and exhaustively tested. These are not voyagers on a maiden trip that has a few bugs, these are people on a commercial trip with 5,000 other passengers. Everything from the hibernation processes, to the ship design, to the end goal for the trip feel honest and in line with the world they live in. Kudos to the set designers and cinematographers to building a movie that felt familiar and foreign at the same time.

4. Questionable Ethics

As much of the movie deals with Chris Pratt’s solitude on the starship and his desire for company, you can imagine that there are a lot of ethical questions at play. What right does someone have to basically end someone else’s life to save their own? How do humans deal with loneliness and come out on the other side? Is there really an other side? This movie is wrought with those deep life questions, but abandons them quickly to dive headfirst into an exciting space adventure when larger mechanicals issues are discovered aboard the Avalon. Personally, I would have preferred the movie to spend more time looking into the human condition presented at the beginning.

passengers film

5. Rushed Finale

For all the good things in Passengers, the ending feelings like a race to the finish. It’s almost like there were two movies they wanted to show and ended up putting out an amalgamation of both. Watching the movie, it honestly felt more like decisions made in the editing room than any particular fault of the writing, but it does make for a third act that wraps up large threads too easily. While it doesn’t ruin the experience by any means, it does end up feeling a bit too “nice and tidy” once the credits start to roll.


So, should you see Passengers? If you like space romances and occasional space disasters, this will be a fun time at the theater. If you like Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence and want to see what they’d do trapped on a spaceship, this is right up your alley. But, if you’re looking for a deeper exploration of the human condition, you won’t find that here, but you’ll be teased with those questions and not find the answers you’re looking for.

Rating – 3 High Fives out of 5