There are likely to be two things you know about this sci-fi drama; co-stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are big on pranking each other, and the film's been labelled "creepy" and "repulsive" by some critics.

It's possible the headlining pranks were an attempt to deflect attention from the headlining reviews, but one thing's for sure, on-screen and off-screen Pratt and Lawrence have great chemistry.

Jim Preston (Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Lawrence) are passengers on a Homestead Company Starship taking them to the Homestead II Colony World. It's a little like Westworld - but you have to travel for 120 years in an induced hibernation to get there.

Along the way, the ship malfunctions and Jim and then Aurora's pods are activated, waking them 90 years early.

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The spaceship resembles a deserted cruise liner, designed to wake its 5000 passengers and 258 crew members four months before they arrive at the Colony, so they can enjoy the incredible onboard experience before beginning their new lives which, it's implied, won't be much better than the ones they've left behind.

The circumstances of the romance are dodgy, but the chemistry is very real. Photo / Supplied
The circumstances of the romance are dodgy, but the chemistry is very real. Photo / Supplied

Walking around an empty ship, with only an android bartender to keep him company (Michael Sheen), Pratt makes the most of the easy gags on offer.

But the story also shows how mechanical engineer Jim does everything he can to put himself back to sleep and avoid spending the rest of his life travelling to a destination he will never reach.

This is where the moral conundrum kicks in - and a spoiler alert. You see, Aurora's pod doesn't accidentally open and a manipulative lie is the basis on which they fall in love and try to find peace with their predicament.

Repulsive? creepy? It's certainly a crappy, stalker-ish act, but Passengers goes to great lengths to put you in Jim's position. You may consider Jim's retribution unsatisfactory (or too Hollywood), but what you should ask yourself is - would you sit around on your own for 90 years?

The pair fall in love until the truth of how Aurora woke up is revealed. Photo / Supplied
The pair fall in love until the truth of how Aurora woke up is revealed. Photo / Supplied

I was more affronted by Jim's Cast Away inspired beard, the only false step in an otherwise chic costumed film.

The money saved on a large A-list cast (there are really only four characters and a couple of holograms) has meant little expense was spared on set design and special effects.

The ship is simply stunning - from the highly stylised school of space travel, as opposed to the industrial/military.

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So, it's a beautiful film to look at; but it doesn't quite make the heart soar.

The characters do their bit; Lawrence and Pratt are great together (it's no surprise they're real-life pranking mates) and Pratt in particular shows he can stand still and act, as opposed to relying on swagger and humour.

The big problem though is how the dodgy premise detracts from feeling the story or characters.

If Passengers has an overriding message it's about making the most of where you are now, but somehow it feels a bit like disappointment and settling for your lot.


Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Rating: M (Adult Themes)
Running time: 116 mins
Verdict: Visually and performance wise it's great, but it lacks awe and heart.