Titanic 2.0 – Passengers movie mesmerizes with surprisingly little plot

A new era of Sci-Fi movies seems to have begun , and of course Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games” trilogy) had to star in one, too. Together with shooting star Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), she shows off her bikini-body in beautiful dresses and a much cooler version of the infamous infinity pool in Singapore – because who wants to swim in the sky when they can swim in space, right? But how did they get there?

In the far future, private companies earn a fortune selling one-way tickets to distant planets to be colonized by mankind. Engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is one of 5,000 passengers on the Avalon, a space cruise ship belonging to the Homestead company. 90 years before the planned arrival, something hits the spaceship, and Jim is the only one to wake up from his hypersleep. One year (!) passes before he decides to wake up beautiful Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), of course not without debating the morally questionable idea with his only friend, the android barkeeper Arthur (Michael Sheen). From there, the viewer can only wait for Aurora to discover Jim’s secret – of course, she thinks she woke up by accident – and for a catastrophe to happen.

After “Gravity” and “The Martian”, this castaway Sci-Fi movie really is nothing new. However, the crew around director Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”) did a great job in constructing the probably most beautiful and luxurious spaceship audiences will ever see. There is everything the earthly species could dream of – from basketball courts to seemingly never empty bottles of booze – and even the low-budget cabins look as if they were copied from a high-fashion interior magazine. The attentive viewer will also notice the uncanny resemblance to “Prometheus”, the 2012 quasi-prequel to the 70s classic “Alien”, where the female protagonist undergoes a painful Caesarean section in a medical pod. This exact prop seems to have been reused in “Passengers”, including the problem of an absent doctor to authorize the surgery. Coincidence? Rather not, since screenwriter Jon Spaiths was also the co-author for said prequel.

From the moment Aurora wakes up, the movie turns into a futuristic version of “Titanic”. She is a privileged, unhappy writer with a famous dad; he is an unemployed engineer who could only afford to emigrate by offering his skills to the soon-to-be colonizers. In real life, they would never have met, but trapped in this space prison he gets a chance to show her the joys of a ‘simple’ life – and of course they fall in love. The iconic bow scene of Jack and Rose is converted into a trip into space: Jim shows Aurora the stunning beauty outside of the spaceship, holds her hand and whispers “Do you trust me?” As if that was not enough, the spaceship is literally about to sink, and the viewer forgets that there are 4,998 other people on board who could die as well. As in Titanic, the only goal is to see the couple alive in the end – and we all know how that ends. However, do not expect too much from the futuristic dénouement.

It is not a problem with the actors. Jennifer Lawrence is as beautiful und funny as ever, and Chris Pratt’s acting makes the viewer love Jim Preston despite his selfish behaviour. Furthermore, Michael Sheen’s charming character could easily please a more demanding audience. It is the trailer that promised much more than it actually offered, which already leads to disappointment midway through the movie, when you start to realize that the plot is actually quite flat and predictable. However, the visuals are completely astonishing and the idea leaves you thinking: Would I have woken her up?

 

By Julia Fischer

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