A spaceship the size of a small city on its 120 year voyage transporting 5000 people to a distant colony planet suffers a malfunction with two of its hibernation chambers. As a result, Aurora Dunn (Jennifer Lawrence), a journalist from New York City and Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), a mechanical engineer from Denver have been woken up 90 years early. Faced with the destiny of spending their entire lives in transit between two planets, with no one else for company but a robotic butler (Michael Sheen), the pair try desperately to find a way out. In doing so, they find themselves falling in love but also discover that their premature awakening isn’t the worst of their problems.
Passengers, labelled as a romantic science fiction thriller is a rarity among big budget Hollywood blockbusters as it is based on an original idea and not on a comic book or pre-existing franchise. And the claustrophobic story has great potential. The set design for the vast, luxury living areas in the spaceship look expertly realised. In particular, the ominous 1920’s art deco bar manned by a tuxedo-wearing robotic bartender (Michael Sheen) is an ingenious paradox – and the likeness to The Shining (1980) is too uncanny to be coincidental. This is an unexpected followup to The Imitation Game (2014) for Norwegian born director Morten Tyldum who is best known for his film Headhunters (2011). With Dennis Villeneuve’s Arrival out in cinemas, this sparks a trend for critically acclaimed, up and coming directors heading to space.
Although the majority of the trailer is just a guy, a girl and a robot alone on a massive ship, the cast is completed by Andy Garcia and Laurence Fishbone whose roles aren’t entirely explained. Passengers will be released in December. You can watch the trailer below.
Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers
Michael Sheen in Passengers