The sci-fi flick Passengers sure didn’t stick around long in theatres, but that’s good news if you’re a home video aficionado, especially since the movie has been given a welcome 4K UHD release that’s quite spectacular.
Even better, above and beyond its excellent home theatre credentials, Passengers also offers an interesting and thought-provoking story and terrific performances by lead actors Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt who play literally (well…) star crossed lovers who must cope with their own "Kobyashi Maru-type" of no-win scenario.
It’s a shame that this movie didn’t even make back the studio’s initial investment (home video sales not counted of course) because it’s far better than the awful and pretentious sci-fi flick Arrival, which preceded it into theatres and which I really wanted to like (except that it sucked). According to IMDB, Arrival had the nerve to make a profit, too - $100,501,349 box office compared to a $47,000,000 production cost - and yet it isn’t worthy of shining Passengers’ shoes, a film which IMDB said cost $110 million but only made just over $99 megabucks.
Maybe that’s a testament to keeping production costs lower…
In Passengers, we join the starship Avalon and its cargo of 5,000 hibernating colonist passengers and 258 hibernating crew as it travels through deep space on its 120 year journey from Earth to a "Homestead Colony" where they plan to build new lives.
You’d think there’d be at least a night watchman on duty just in case, but nooooo! - this ship is so computerized (not surprisingly, really, for the future) that it’s totally self-contained and self-maintaining. It’s a pretty cool ship, too, basically a luxury cruise ship/hotel with huge and spinning partial wheel sections reminiscent of the space station in 2001: a space odyssey. The spinning sections offer simulated gravity for the people on board who, other than their short period awake at the beginning and end of their long voyage, don’t really need it. But Passengers would be less cool without it.
That’s a bit of a plot hole, I guess, but plot holes are common in science fiction. Heck, there’d be no Star Trek without ‘em!
Anyway, the ship has a defensive shield in front of it to prevent damage from collision with space debris but, wouldn’t you know, it runs into an asteroid field denser than what it was apparently designed to handle. This starts a series of events that leads to renewed life, hopeless loneliness, true and deep love, true and deep hate, personal sacrifice, rebirth (kind of) and lives fulfilled.
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