I always envy characters in cryosleep; spending decades in an induced state of hibernation sounds brilliant. Particularly if you get to sleep through a film as thoroughly abysmal as Morten Tyldum’s Passengers, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.
A spaceship is transporting 5,000 passengers in suspended animation to a colony that’s a 120-year journey from Earth, when a space-Pratt is awoken 90 years early due to a malfunctioning hibernation pod. Faced with dying alone on the ship, he discovers his fellow (sleeping) passenger Jennifer Lawrence… and that’s when things get creepy. I won’t go into the plot; there’s a spoiler-filled deconstruction here. But to say the film fails to appreciate the immorality of Star-Lord’s actions would be the grossest understatement since Jeremy Irons called Batman v Superman “muddled.” Eye in the Sky was a film about a genuine moral dilemma; this is just wrong.
But apart from mistaking creepiness for romance and insisting that the ends justify the means, everything else is appalling. The plot is as sleep-inducingly dull as one might expect from a director whose name rhymes with ‘Boredom Tedium.’ The acting is astronomically bad, with painful performances from Lawrence, Pratt and Laurence Fishburne as the ship’s captain (isn’t he always?). One of the worst things to emerge from the unholy mountain of crap that is 2016 is the career trajectory of two of the best Parks and Recreation characters, April and Andy: she’s in Dirty Grandpa; he’s in this. And it’s strange that the people who should be most ashamed are actually the most pleased with themselves: Lawrence, Pratt, Farage.
Then there’s the characters; two of the most obnoxiously stupid people ever to exist in and indeed waste space. If they’re really the best humankind has to offer a new era of civilisation, our survival is in immediate doubt. Nothing they do or say makes the slightest sense, nor does anything that happens throughout this mind-numbing piece of space junk. They tried to make people watch this film by presenting it as a bit of everything: sci-fi, romance, action; but the only acceptable way to sell us this movie would be with an apology. If only they’d thought as hard about the story as they did about ways to get Jennifer Lawrence in her underwear…
Incompetent in every way imaginable and also a couple of unexpected ways, Passengers is an atrocity; one which guarantees that I will end 2016 as I began it: with a very sore head.