ROG'S VIEWPOINT - On the Starship Avalon's 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet with over 5,000 hibernated people looking to begin a new life, passengers Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) are awakened 90 years too soon. A malfunction is just the
beginning of problems aboard the craft. The stranded pair must solve the mystery behind the malfunction before the ship is destroyed. Chemistry between the two stars keeps this anemic sci-fi romance from being entirely sucked into the black hole of forgettable films. But it still comes close. Director Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game") and writer Jon Spaihts focus primarily on loneliness, isolation and the relationship between the budding lovers. All of these contrived situations are problematic and strain any credibility. A few laughs are provided by Pratt and a robotic bartender portrayed by Michael Sheen. Laurence Fishburne appears briefly as a crew member, but no spoiler specifics will be revealed here. Everything moves along slowly until an effects-laden third act adds a bit of tension. With so much potential for this outer space story, "Passengers" loses gravity fast. **

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