“Jim Preston” Chris Pratt is one of 5,000 passengers aboard the Starship “Avalon” heading for a distant planet to start a new life.
Snug in his hibernation pod he will wake after the crew are up, just in time to prepare for the landing on Homestead II. All is well, the ship has ninety years to go before it reaches it’s destination, until Jim’s pod malfunctions, he wakes up too soon.
A massive ship and nobody to talk to apart from a robot bartender “Arthur” Michael Sheen. Trying everything to either go back to sleep or break onto the bridge, he gradually goes quietly mad, looking not dissimilar to Jim Carrey in disheveled mode.
Of course there are plenty of people aboard, being a mechanic/engineer he could wake them, he has a manual but should he? He would be effectively writing their death sentence.
After one drunken self hating binge he stumbles on an excellent choice. A female who could be his “perfect woman”, should he wake her?
With two stonkin’ hot “A List” stars on board, we are trending towards a yes. However the will he/won’t he debate, is commendably drawn out to indicate an ethical dilemma exists. Although the central premise, man bored, needs girlfriend to play with and therefore assumes they will fall in love with him, is a classic male conceit.
Pratt and Lawrence have some chemistry together, Lawrence has acting ability to spare. Pratt has yet to really show his real acting chops beyond crowd pleasing fare.
This is effectively an acting two-hander, albeit with a robot as the comic/plot device sidekick. Arthur, as well as dispensing bartender life advice, gives the characters someone to talk to, enabling the audience to hear their thoughts. Sheen is solid in the role, creating a fake character, both human and yet not really human at all.
Arthur does have some worthwhile advice about concentrating on the journey, rather than the destination, which is a theme as the film progresses. Extra drama is later added to bring some tension into the film, once the main bombshell is dropped. We then move to, “spaceship needs to be fixed or we all die” drama. The ending is weak but the writers had already painted themselves into a corner.
The budget has clearly been spent on huge sets and effects, notably an impressive swimming pool sequence. More time on the screenplay to add a harder edge might have made for a more effective film.
Not the best film ever but equally unworthy of the critical mauling at time of release, not hampering a $303m box office take.
After a slow start alone in space and once the rather dubious decision is made, an enjoyable romance morphing into a spaceship in peril yarn.
Likeable and bankable leads elevate the rather questionable central premise, worth two hours of your time.