At first, I just tried to ignore this movie and I was hoping I would come across it someday on some television channel during a quiet Saturday night. First of all because I’m not dying to see a movie with Jennifer Lawrence acting in it. Even if the antagonist is played by the charming Chris Pratt. And also because there were a lot of indications that this would be a typical romantic space story. I thought this would be the galactic version of Titanic. Only that the spacecraft won’t hit a banal iceberg and those two turtledoves won’t be standing on the bow of the ship while embracing each other intimately with a cosmic wind rustles through their hair. Or maybe a modern version of Loveboat (only the dwarf dressed up in a futuristic garb is missing). All in all the romantic drool section wasn’t such a big of a deal. And to my surprise it was more a visual sci-fi spectacle than a love story about two remaining passengers spending the rest of their days on a luxurious spacecraft.
To be honest, the first part was both fascinating and wonderfully humorous. The spaceship looked impressive. The first images of the huge dormitory where all pods are standing in which thousands of passengers are sleeping an artificial sleep, were mind blowing. They are on their way, along with a few hundred crew members, to a better place to found a new colony. When a comet storm throws a spanner in the works, it’s Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) who first wakes up. Unfortunately for him it’ll still take 90 years before they reach their final destination. That’s the beginning of the more humorous part. Not high quality humor, but still good enough for a few chuckle moments. The way Jim spends his free time and his entertaining conversations with Arthur (Michael Sheen), a robotic bartender, provide some funny moments. And all this takes place in beautifully constructed sets and breathtaking interiors. One thing is certain, they spared no expense when designing this gigantic spaceship.
Of course, gradually the excitement disappears and is replaced by a more profound atmosphere, wherein feelings of loneliness surface and doubts arise about the meaning of a further solitary existence. Time to provide Jim with a feminine counterbalance. That’s when Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) enters the scene. In terms of good looks, both of them belong together Tinder-wise. Them having beautiful children is written in the stars. Well, this is the beginning of the romantic chapter in which both start to scan each other meticulously and carefully, start to know each other better and finally in terms of intimacy are a perfect match. Despite my fear, the romance part remained fairly limited. The only thing I noticed is that Jennifer Lawrence hasn’t only grown what acting concerns. Either there were some hormonal changes or there has been a medical intervention. Something I noticed immediately. However, her acting part was rather limited. It seemed as if they gave Jim the most sensual female toy from the entire crew. Of course an obligated pool scene had to be included I guess. Although, it looked extremely spectacular (and no I’m not talking about the feminine curves of J. Lawrence) due to a malfunctioning artificial gravity.
And then it’s time to start the action-packed part with also a short performance by Laurence Fishburne and some impressive CGI sequences. Sometimes it made me think of Gravity and The Martian, but that didn’t really bother me. You see, it’s kind of a mixture of different genres. The most vulnerable part of the film is the limited cast (ultimately it’s only Jim and Aurora you’ll see). To be honest, nothing wrong can be said about their performances and indeed there’s a chemistry between the two protagonists. The only thing I was disappointed about is the way the moral issue is swept under the table in a cheap and easy way. The moment this became a problematic and delicate subject, they increased the action and it disappeared into the background. What a shame because this moral issue was more interesting than the clichéd action section. Would he have done this to me, I would have kicked his ass into infinite space for sure. But despite this chapter full of moderate, predictable action and a romanticized ending, this movie appealed to me. I’m glad I didn’t wait to see it on the small screen, but now I could enjoy its greatness in the cinema. And no, I’m not talking about J. Lawrence again!
For more of Peter Pluymers’ movie reviews, check out My Opinion as a Movie-Freak
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television