What You Need To Know - May 5, 2017

Passengers: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Passengers: What You Need To Know

For many people, the idea of being stuck on a spaceship alone with either one of Chris Pratt or Jennifer Lawrence might not seem like such a terrible fate, but in Passengers the pair find themselves stranded on a long intergalactic journey to a new planet with only each other for company, and things soon get pretty tense.

After blasting off at cinemas in December last year, the film lands in stores on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday (May 8th) and you can order your copy from our online store (using the link at the top-right of this page). In the meantime, here's everything you need to know...


Who's in it?

Most of the film revolves around Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, but they do have a companion aboard the ship in the form of Michael Sheen, who plays an android bartender named Arthur. Also along for the ride are Lawrence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Homeland's Nazanin Boniadi and Chasing Life's Aurora Perrineau.


And who's directing?

Norwegian director Morten Tyldum, the man responsible for Headhunters and The Imitation Game, is behind the lens, working from a script provided by Prometheus and Doctor Strange writer Jon Spaihts.


What's the plot?

Jim Preston (Pratt), a mechanic and engineer, is one of 5,000 colonists aboard the spaceship Avalon, embarking on a 120-year journey to a new planet able to support life, dubbed Homestead II, with the aim of establishing a new human colony.

In order to survive the long journey, the colonists and the ship's 238-strong crew are placed in suspended animation pods programmed to wake everyone as the ship reaches its destination. However, 30 years into Avalon's journey the ship passes though a meteor storm and sustains damage that begins to cause malfunctions.

The first of these is that Jim is awoken 90 years ahead of schedule and, after discovering that he has no way to send himself back into induced hibernation due to his malfunctioning sleep pod, realises that he is facing a very long and lonely journey, with the distinct possibility that he may even not survive long enough to reach the new planet.

Growing increasingly depressed, Jim whiles away much of his time in the ship's bar where he gets his only form of company from Arthur (Sheen), the android bartender. After a year alone on the ship, Jim is deeply unhappy and contemplating suicide, but then he notices a young woman in one of the other pods.

He learns that she is a writer named Aurora Lane (Lawrence) and after wrestling with his conscience he makes the decision to wake her, telling her that her pod must also have malfunctioned, swearing Arthur to secrecy. Initially, Aurora is devastated, but gradually begins to accept her fate and finds herself growing close to Jim. However, one day Arthur accidentally reveals the truth, and the relationship between the pair begins to turn sour.


Does it deliver?

The film enjoyed a very strong performance at the box office on its release last year and, despite being released halfway through December, ended the year as the second-highest grossing live-action film of 2016, second only to La La Land. Reaction from critics was decidedly mixed – perhaps having seen one too many space-themed films with Passengers arriving in the wake of others like Interstellar and Gravity.

However, audiences loved it and the thing that makes Passengers different is that it's more a love story set in space than a sci-fi thriller; taken in that context, it really does work. Pratt and Lawrence carry the film superbly and the rest of the cast is small but very well chosen. If you're a fan of science-fiction but fancy something a little different from the usual space-crusading fare, this is well worth watching and it's beautifully presented too.


Passengers Morten Tyldum

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