Review: ‘Passengers’ Is A Fun Ride Despite Rotten Tomatoes Pompous Consensus
“Passengers” finds its appeal in entertainment, which should please general audiences.
This is an example of why NOT to use Rotten Tomatoes as the authority for your movie going decisions. “Passengers” unites Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence on an interstellar journey that becomes problematic. While many of the scientific elements fall into the realm of fiction or pseudoscience, this film excels in the realm of pure entertainment. “Passengers” definitely has its faults, but I’m sure that a majority of you (myself included) will overlook them if you can just enjoy the ride.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, etc.) – 2.5
There is a lot of context missing from this story. Embarking on a journey to a new planet raises quite a bit of questions that are never answered. How did our civilization get to this point? Where did this company funding the trip come from? There are many more questions and plot holes that may not satiate the appetite of an analytical moviegoer. But despite its permeable, simplistic plot, “Passengers” does have a few redeeming qualities.
The title itself implies the focus of this film. It’s about the people more than the setting. In particular, the focus lies on the relationship between Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). The chemistry between these two actors is prevalent throughout the film and it’s captivating to watch their relationship blossom. Lawrence and Pratt both share a similar style of humor and wit in real life that carries over into their “Passengers” performance. Focusing on their relationship with the interstellar adventure as supplemental fodder creates a much more palatable experience. There are some moments of “overacting,” particularly on Jennifer Lawrence’s behalf. But I think that could be relegated to dynamic acting juxtaposed against a static plot and character development.
Visually I do have to commend this film. Exploring the universe while aboard a cosmic shopping mall paints a very unique picture. There are many future-esque elements that had me reveling in the eye candy while my brain went into suspended animation. Outside of the stars and vastness of space, the ship had a plethora of areas to explore. Whether it was a high tech, virtual dance game to pass the time or something as simple as an automated food dispensary, my interest was definitely piqued.
Overall, “Passengers” missed an opportunity to be something greater. The visuals were there and so was the chemistry between the lead actors. Even the premise was intriguing on the surface. But without further development of the backstory and the main characters, “Passengers” falls under a bit of scrutiny.
Entertainment Value – 3.5
If you’re looking for a popcorn film with some high profile actors, then you’ve found it with “Passengers.” Even as someone who is HIGHLY critical of scientific accuracy, I had a lot of fun watching this movie. For me, it was like living out a fantasy that I was watching unfold onscreen. Sure, not every action the characters took made logical sense, but I caught that simplicity early on. Things developed pretty quickly being bombarded with isolation, visuals of space, and a seemingly complicated yet predictable relationship. But I would be lying to myself if I said that I didn’t have fun.
After it ended, I immediately thought of films like “Armageddon” where despite the flaws, I still found entertainment. It’s an element that many critics seem to have forgotten and why I miss the greats like Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. When you hit up Rotten Tomatoes, many of the reviews are not going to reflect on the fun factor of “Passengers.” There are many things that do not make sense in this film but it was definitely a wonderful mess to watch.
Re-Watchability – 3
I’m not going to make my way back to the theater to see “Passengers.” I probably won’t pick it up on its digital release day either. But if I get it at a discounted price or it shows up in my Netflix list, I will most likely watch it more than once. It’s a good film for appealing to your indecisiveness when looking for something to pass the time.
- Entertainment Value
While "Passengers" doesn't hit its cinematic mark, there is a lot of fun to be had if you can simply enjoy the ride. There is also strong chemistry between Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Their relationship is interesting on the surface, but digging beyond that may be why this film has fallen under such scrutiny. Overall, "Passengers" is just simple fun.
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