I’ve been sitting on this review for a while now, because there’s honestly not much to say about Passengers. When it could’ve been this awesome space romance, Passengers ends up being a jumble of genres that passes off as a serviceable movie, but nothing more. You can’t really blame the actors because they aren’t turning in bad performances per say or Jon Spaihts who turned in an script that even got blacklisted a couple years back, so it all boils down to Tyldum’s extremely contrived way of directing Passengers.
This film is the safest studio film out there: two Hollywood stars falling in love ✓, a romance that works out perfectly ✓, special effects driven sequences ✓, really standard comedy ✓, a pseudo interesting twist ✓, and an allusion to environmentalism to make the film morally good ✓, Tyldum’s way of making this film seem as good as it is is why it’s so dull. Visually, there’s also an extreme lack of originality as the film pretends to be homaging all these films when its actually just stealing their look because it appears Tyldum didn’t know how to pull off certain things. Its borrowing from WALL-E, 2001, The Shinning, Gravity and the only cool thing its got to offer is the ship’s design. Morten Tyldum plays his direction extremely safe and in doing so churns out a rather forgettable film that feels beholden to pleasing studio-heads and not audience members.
Performance-wise, the only one to really offer something is Chris Pratt who does a remarkable job keeping your attention when in total isolation. Jennifer Lawrence is fine but does seem to overact a lot here and then there’s Laurence Fishburne who just randomly shows up and gives a really strange performance that tries to ride a line between funny and authoritative that just doesn’t work. Michael Sheen brings the same charisma and gentleman qualities he brings to everyone of his performances, but sadly that’s not enough to save this film. The relationship between our two main leads isn’t really emotionally affecting but just manipulated to seem that so. And in a really odd choice, Tyldum chooses to have a respected actor show up for two seconds and say no lines when he could’ve had an extra do the same job. In the end, besides Michael Sheen who always brings his charm to every film he tackles, Chris Pratt the only one who really impressed in showing he can truly carry a film on his own and fully on his shoulders.
Passengers is nothing but serviceable, it could’ve been cool but ends on the lame side of the spectrum. It plays everything extremely safe and because of that there’s nothing riveting or impressive about the feature. Chris Pratt and Michael Sheen do a fine job on-screen, but no one else really contributes. Visually, the film looks good, but just because its ripping off its look from other much better films. I’m not saying Passengers is an awful film or bad for that matter, I’m just stating it’s incredibly forgettable and boring.