First Hit: This was an enjoyable film with wonderful visual effects and three actors and a director that made it work.
Not only was the overall film enjoyable, I walked away thinking would I sign up for a space journey like the one they were on?
To ask this question meant to me that I bought into the premise of the film that 5,000-people signed up to be put to hibernation for 120 years, loaded onto a spaceship so that they could travel to a distant habitable plant, Homestead II, and start a new life. I’d do it in a heartbeat because it would be interesting to see what people bring to the table and the reasons why they would take this risk. It would also give me a chance to use what I’ve learned to assist in the growth of a new society.
On the way to this distant planet, the starship “Avalon” passes through a massive meteor shower and collides with a very large meteor. The ship gets damaged and although it does its best to repair itself, the system overrides cause additional errors to begin, grow, and cascade. This is gets communicated to the audience by giving them a peek into the Avalon's control bridge holographic visuals of the ship's status.
The damage releases the hibernation sequence in one of the pods and wakes Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) 90 years early. At first, he’s really confused as he wanders the ships massive corridors and meeting rooms only to find out that he’s the only one alive. He makes attempts to re-hibernate himself but learns that it is not possible. He tries to break into the hibernating crew quarters but to no avail. His only friend is a robot bartender named Arthur (Michael Sheen).
After about a year of loneliness and frustration and realizing that he will live the rest of his life alone on this spaceship, he decides to wake a fellow passenger whom he thinks is attractive and interesting. Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), the person he wakes up, is a creative writer and when she shares her storyline, as to why she made the choice to go on this adventure, it is beautifully expressed.
The struggle for Jim is that he is also giving her the same death sentence he has by waking her. Again, this provides provocative questions: Would you wake up another person? Would you tell them that you did this?
The visual effects are well done with a few being outstanding. I liked the views of space, the interior shots of the ship, when they venture outside the ship on tethers, and I was especially impressed with the scene when gravity is lost while Aurora is in the swimming pool. I liked the romance that these two created as it wasn't rushed and left to develop nicely with breath of spaciousness.
This story is unique which also adds to this movie’s appeal. When they discover the ship is dying and they have to try to fix it or the remaining passengers and crew will die, the film shifts into another gear.
Pratt was very good and probably the best role I’ve seen him in. His naturally humorous nature was used judiciously while his caring intensity was kept in check. Lawrence was mesmerizing. She has a way with her voice that allows her to seem both intelligent and sultry at the same time. It is a great combination. Sheen was fantastic as the droid bartending robot. His subtle and human nature spiced with robotic witticisms was perfect. Laurence Fishburne as Gus Mancuso a crewmember that also gets mistakenly awakened was good in this minor role. Jon Spaihts wrote a very strong script that incorporated humor, dramatic elements and a great backdrop. Morten Tyldum had a firm and confident grip on directing the actors, storyline and visuals.
Overall: This was a very entertaining film in all ways.