Passengers Review Roundup: Are Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence Out of This World?

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Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence seemed to become instant best friends while filming Passengers, and their press tour only made fans love them more. Their chemistry both on and off-screen was completely undeniable. Add to that a captivating trailer and you’ve got yourself what appeared to be a box office hit…

…or is it?

Critics have released their reviews on Pratt and Lawrence’s sci-fi flick, and here’s what they have to say:

Entertainment Weekly: The signs to be hopeful were all there: A pair of dependable movie stars, a bullish Oscar-season spot on the release calendar, a director hot off of an Oscar-nominated film. But alas, Passengers is not very good. In fact, it’s pretty bad… To recap, 1.) Passengers is bad. 2.) Michael Sheen is great. 3.) As for the rest, save your money. D+

Jaimie Trueblood/Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

The Hollywood Reporter: There is, at first, a thrilling what-if in Jon Spaihts’ screenplay, which concocts a sort of Titanic in outer space, with dollops of “Sleeping Beauty” and Gravity thrown into the high-concept mix. Under less shiny, by-the-numbers direction, the story might have soared, or at least been more stirring. Yet while Passengers offers a few shrewd observations about our increasingly tech-enabled, corporatized lives, its heavy-handed mix of life-or-death exigencies and feel-good bromides finally feels like a case of more being less. Whatever the critical consensus, though, the marquee leads are sure to entice moviegoers seeking grown-up action-adventure.

Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers

Jaimie Trueblood/Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Variety: Passengers is the tale of a lonely guy in space, the drama of an ethical conundrum, a love story featuring two of the hottest actors on the planet, and a turbulent sci-fi action-adventure — and for all of that, it manages to be not a very good movie. The two stars, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, are both intensely gifted and easy on the eyes, and the film takes off from a not-bad idea, but the setup is way better than the follow-through. The director, the Norwegian-born Morten Tyldum, made the accomplished WWII brainiac spy thriller The Imitation Game (2014), but he turns out to be the wrong filmmaker for an amorous space opera. You can see why when he stages a scene that’s supposed to take us out of this world, but doesn’t.

Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

IGN: Only actors as immediately likable and emotionally dynamic as Pratt and Lawrence would be able to pull off a film that requires this much heavy lifting, and their easy chemistry makes up for many of Passengers’ misses. Pratt in particular has to fill a lot of the film by himself, and he makes a convincing case for Jim as he makes his tough choice and then deals with the fallout of it.

The biggest problem with the film is it doesn’t follow that dilemma through to the end. At a certain point, Passengers goes a more Hollywood route with its story, and suddenly the focus isn’t on the human conflict but instead an impending disaster that had been set up carefully throughout the length of the movie. Because of that, certain characters are let off the hook for decisions more easily than they should be, and the Passengers doesn’t have as big an impact as the theoretical conversations it raises could have.

Forbes: Nonetheless, Passengers works as flashy, adult-skewing popcorn entertainment that stands apart from the pack. It has moments of action and peril, but it is mostly a drama that evolves into a grim romance that quite commits to being “about” its most interesting subject matter. It works because the film is gorgeous to look at, because its two top-billed stars command our attention, and because achieves enough of a rooting interest so that we care about the outcome. It starts better than it ends, and it gives short shrift to its most interesting subject matter, but it is good enough as a Saturday night at the movies option.

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