Passengers may be the weirdest entry into the actors-alone-in-space genre; it’s Gravity meets The Martian, with a side of Stockholm syndrome. Jim and Aurora (Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence) are a pair of single people trapped together on a spaceship that’s 90 years away from its destination. The doomed travelers fall in love, but what Aurora doesn’t know is that Jim woke her up on purpose so he’d at least be doomed with someone else. It’s quite the ethical conundrum, and most critics can empathize: Judging by the reviews, they too know what it’s like to be stuck alone in the dark for what feels like decades. Read the meanest critical appraisals below, and then check out our own David Edelstein’s much more positive take.
“Among the quandaries that Passengers poses, the most terrifying might be ‘What if you were trapped on a cruise ship for the rest of your life?’” — Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
“Aurora’s fairy tale name is somehow not the script’s biggest clunker; it’s laden with head-slappingly bad dialogue that even Pratt and Lawrence can’t pull off, like an exchange that sees Jim telling Aurora he was giving her space, only for her to respond, “Ugh! Space! The one thing I do not need more of!” — Kate Erbland, IndieWire
“Yes, in one fell swoop, Passengers turns a likable guy into a mild stalker, then a de facto long-game murderer (think about it), and since Jim doesn’t disabuse Aurora of the assumption that her awakening is a malfunction like his, we can add spineless kidnapper to Jim’s list of violations as well.” — Robert Abele, The Wrap
“[In] Passengers, the big romantic spacewalk is so perfunctory and visually rote that it’s about as stunning as a glimpse out the window of an airplane cruising over Cleveland.” — Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Somewhere along the way, Laurence Fishburne appears: Yep, in a movie that is literally about two white people stuck in the vast nothingness of space with nobody else around, they still find a way to have a black guy show up just long enough to die. (Spoiler alert.)” — Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“[The leads must] figure out a way to survive — and if sparks fly while they’re hurtling through space, well, all the better. That’s the way the trailer makes it seem, at least. And I’ll be honest, that’s a movie I’d kind of want to see. But that’s not what we get. Not even close. Passengers is way stupider than that.” — Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
“[The beginning twist] sets things off on a bad course — and although the movie doesn’t immediately crash and burn, it never, ever recovers. It loses some of its warmth, and most of its charm. And it ends up as nearly as cold and creepy as the space it takes us through.” — Stephen Witty, New York Daily News