Of course, the director is far from the only individual deserving of blame for this soulless clunker. Writer Ronnie Christensen’s screenplay is intellectually lazy, boring, and needlessly gimmicky. The entire structure of the movie serves as a sort of movie-of-the-week build-up to an inevitable twist ending. Christensen’s twist, however, undoes any progression we’ve made with the characters and renders everything instantly and utterly worthless.
Hathaway is nice to look at in the role, but she’s given so little to go on and so little to do of interest that she barely seems to put forth much effort. At least in a big cash vehicle like Get Smart she was able to deliver some of her trademark charisma. With Passengers, Hathaway blends with the dreary scenery and manages to have her most effective “scare” wrestling with a blown newspaper. Freaky stuff.
The remainder of the cast looks good on paper, too, with Morse, Wiest, and Wilson all formidable talents. Unfortunately, this humourless and meaningless plot gives them nothing to do and they all wind up waiting around for the conclusion and, presumably, the paycheque.
On a personal note, it was slightly entertaining to notice that Passengers was filmed in Vancouver. Scenes are set against my fair city’s bleak backdrop, with the cloudiness and insistent rainy weather providing as dreary a setting as this picture deserved. In the end, though, even the blank skies and UBC’s lush environs could save it from ultimate despair.
The DVD release includes a feature on the plane crash that illuminates how the creators attempted to make it among the most realistic sequences of its kind. Anyone who’s seen Passengers knows that they didn’t succeed in the least.
There are also some deleted scenes in case the movie’s 93 minutes aren’t enough and a standard “Making Of” feature along with a director and cast commentary.