(US/China - 2016)
Directed by Morten Tyldum. Written by Jon Spaihts. Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia. (PG-13, 116 mins)
The sci-fi epic PASSENGERS is a triumph of production design weighed down by a script that feels like its second half was hastily rewritten after focus groups said more shit needed to blow up. Its intriguing opening act does a commendable job of replicating that unique Kubrickian chilliness and isolation, with a 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY vessel seemingly revamped by an interior decorator whose favorite movie was THE SHINING. Even the pattern on a wall matches the carpeting where Danny is playing with his cars outside Room 237. Set in a future where people are looking to move beyond an overcrowded Earth, PASSENGERS opens aboard the Starship Avalon, with 5000 passengers and a crew of 238 in hibernation on a 120-year voyage to a planet colony called Homestead II. 30 years into the voyage, a minor collision with an asteroid causes a brief disruption in the computer system that results in engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) being awakened from his hibernation pod. It takes him a while to realize he's up 90 years too early, but going back into hibernation is impossible, a message sent to Homestead headquarters back on Earth will take 19 years to arrive, and his only company for what's looking like the rest of his life is affable robot bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen), who in no way reminds one of Lloyd in the Gold Ballroom of the Overlook Hotel.
The next paragraph contains SPOILERS.