JOURNALIST Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) is travelling in deep space to a distant colony planet.
She wants to become the first writer to tell the stories of intergalactic travellers and chart the history of the settlement.
Embarking on a ‘return trip’ which will take her 250 years, she will never see her friends and family again.
And by the time she gets back to Earth it will feel alien to her, having changed beyond recognition due to the passage of time.
Meanwhile, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is an engineer whose past remains a mystery.
But he wants to use his skills to help people start a new life.
Hearing more about the pair’s motivations for sacrificing all they know and love to join Starship Avalon would have made Passengers a thought-provoking film.
But instead director Morten Tyldum skirts around these themes with a bland, slow-paced story with little depth beyond the surface polish (very much in keeping with the awful airbrushed posters used to promote the film).
Written by Jon Spaihts, Passengers sees a malfunction in the spaceship’s sleep chambers.
As a result, Jim is awakened from cryosleep 90 years early, doomed to live and die alone aboard the ship before it even reaches its destination.
This is another part of the film that had great potential. What would make Jim tick while facing loneliness and desperation in a hopeless situation?
Think Cast Away in space. But, of course, Hollywood movies do not work like that and it is not long before Jim finds Aurora.
With the pair stranded together, Tyldum’s film morphs into a predicable love story of sorts.
And a couple of revelations and a cheesy ending fail to elevate it.
Some interesting points are made about how we are all subject to the hands of fate to some extent and how happiness can be found in unusual places.
But considering this comes from the director who previously brought us the excellent Imitation Game and Headhunters it is a disappointment on a galactic scale.