Director: Morten Tyldum
Screenwriter: Jon Spaihts
Runtime: 116 mins.
Australian release date: 1 January 2017
Norwegian director Morten Tyldum might’ve been better served if he’d used the services of screenwriter Graham Moore again, who wrote his Oscar-winning effort The Imitation Game, rather than Jon Spaihts, who scripted Passengers, his latest release. Granted, Spaihts has good ideas (cf. Prometheus, Doctor Strange) but his dialogue-writing skills need improvement. Some of the lines Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt have to deliver here test even their formidable skills… and the audience’s.
The two actors play author Aurora Lane and engineer Jim Preston, passengers on a 120-year flight to a new home planet deep in space. They have been placed in a state of suspended animation to last the trip but a malfunction wakes Chris up too soon - 90 years too soon, in fact, and try as he might he can’t get back to sleep!
What’s a red-blooded bloke to do, with all that testosterone and only a cyborg bartender (Michael Sheen) to keep him company? That’s the moral question at the heart of this sci-fi adventure and it’s an interesting one. Unfortunately, the conundrum is not dealt with sufficiently deeply before Passengers morphs into your standard ‘will they or won’t they survive’ scenario. It’s a shame because the film looks great and the production design is intriguing but the script could’ve been so much Moore.