Passengers (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 12-Apr-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-fi Drama Deleted Scenes-x 8 (9:49)
Featurette-Casting the Passengers (10:39)
Featurette-Space on Screen: The Visual Effects of Passengers (7:26)
Episode Introductions-On the Set with Chris Pratt (4:19)
Featurette-Creating the Avalon (9:35)
More…-Outtakes (4:23)
More…-Book Passage - psudo ads (4:40)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 116:10
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Morten Tyldum
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jennifer Lawrence
Chris Pratt
Michael Sheen
Laurence Fishburne
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Thomas Newton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Some time in the distant future the starship Avalon is in deep space heading for a distant galaxy on autopilot carrying 258 crew and 5000 passengers in suspended animation in pods. The trip will take 120 years and 30 have already passed when an asteroid chunk breaks through the ship’s protective shields. Damage appears to be minimal but one pod, that of Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), activates and he awakes to find himself alone on the ship with 90 years still to go before arrival. Finding that he cannot put himself back into suspended sleep and learning that a message to Earth asking for assistance will take about 55 years to get a response he explores the ship and finds a massive shopping mall complex with shops, restaurants and bars, all empty and serviced by robots except for the Art Deco bar with its android bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen). For a while Jim enjoys the amenities of the ship, including basketball, diners, the bar and a spacewalk, until loneliness gets to him and he contemplates suicide.

     In his wanderings around the ship Jim has noticed the beautiful Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) in her pod. In his loneliness he struggles with the dilemma; to provide company does he have the right to wake her up, thus condemning her to a life marooned on the Avalon? Of course, he does awake Aurora and she gradually becomes drawn to Jim until she learns the truth and is understandably furious. At this point the pod belonging to crew member Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburne) also malfunctions and he awakes and there are other serious system failures, including a loss of gravity for a few minutes. Although Gus is dying with his crew bracelet he is able to access sections of the ship that Jim and Aurora had been unable to reach. Racing against time, the three try to find out what is causing the ship to malfunction before it destroys itself.

     Passengers was directed by Morten Tyldum whose CV includes the excellent Norwegian thriller Headhunters (2011) and The Imitation Game (2014), for which he received an Oscar nomination. The film was written by Jon Spaihts who was one of the writers of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus so he was no stranger to ethical and moral dilemmas in a space setting. The first two acts of Passengers are intelligent and thought-provoking; the first act covers Jim’s reactions to isolation and the question of whether he has the right to deliberately strand another person for a lifetime, the second his interaction with Aurora. The third act becomes something quite different and it has been reported that this section of the film changed markedly from the original script. This third act becomes more of an action / adventure while the sudden appearance, and just as quick disappearance, of the Laurence Fishburne character is simply a deus ex machina to resolve the impasse within the plot. Finally, the climax giving Aurora a choice to free Jim from the guilt of his earlier actions is Hollywood contrived storytelling at its most obvious.

     Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are no strangers to big budget, CGI laden films. I think Pratt is often an unconvincing and flat actor which is okay in blockbusters but not where emotion is required. Lawrence is better but here both Lawrence and Pratt feel dominated by the film’s visuals, which are indeed spectacular! In an extra on this Blu-ray production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas shows how some of the film’s stunning sets, including the Grand Concourse, the Venus Suite, the Art Deco bar and the pod storage area were built. Passengers was nominated for an Oscar for Production Design but lost out to La La Land (the film also lost for best score to La La Land, one of composer Thomas Newton’s 14 Oscar nominations without a win – so far). I was surprised that Passengers did not receive a nomination for its visual effects which are superb; the zero gravity sequence with Aurora in the swimming pool is simply amazing.

     Passengers has an intriguing idea, interestingly developed during its first two acts before taking the easy way out in the last act for a happy Hollywood ending. However, it never looks anything less than spectacular with some stunning sequences and is worth watching for these alone.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Passengers is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a beautiful print. Detail is strong, whether inside the Avalon where the mall, corridors and rooms have a metal grey palate, or outside in space with its inky blackness and pin pricks of light that remain firm despite the swirling and spinning of the individuals in space suits. Elsewhere, colours are vibrant – the blue of the swimming pool, the reds and yellows of the star flares or the Art Deco bar with Arthur’s red jacket. Shadow detail excellent, skin tones are natural, contrast and brightness consistent. Marks and artefacts were absent.

     English subtitles and English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1 plus English descriptive audio (Dolby Digital 5.1) using a female voice.

     This is not an action film as such although during the asteroid strikes and the firestorm in the climax the rears and surrounds are fully utilised. At other times it was mostly the music in the rears as there is not a lot of ambient sound in space. The subwoofer was used appropriately during the firestorm and to support the thrust of the engines. The dialogue was clear and easy to understand.

     The score by Thomas Newton was varied and effective.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Deleted Scenes (9:49)

     There are eight deleted scenes that can be selected individually or via a play all option. The scenes are:

.

Casting the Passengers (10:39)

     This extra looks at the four main characters and the actors who play them. It consists of film clips, on set behind the scenes footage and comments by writer Jon Spaihts, director Morten Tyldum, cast Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne and four producers.

Space on Screen: The Visual Effects of Passengers (7:26)

     This covers the creation of the visual effects and includes examples of the layering of the effects, the LED lighting machine, greenscreen stunts plus comments by Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, the visual effects supervisor, stunt co-ordinator, interactive LED lighting consultant and a couple of producers.

On the Set with Chris Pratt (4:19)

     Footage of Pratt talking and goofing around on set while cast and crew say what a great guy he is.

Creating the Avalon (9:35)

     The best of the extras as production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas takes us through some of the massive practical interior sets of the Avalon through concept, sketches, construction to the final set. Additional comments by the director and cast.

Outtakes (4:23)

     Goofs, stuff ups, clowning around and laughs.

Book Passage (4:40)

     Four fun pseudo ads by the Homestead Company selling passage on the Avalon. The four are:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The US Region Free Blu-ray of Passengers has the same extras and adds a Spanish and French dub and subtitles.

Summary

     Passengers is a visually spectacular film with glorious colours and stunning special effects. There is a good looking cast and some intelligent ideas but the film is let down by a Hollywood happy ending.

     The video is stunning, the audio fine. The extras are mostly light weight.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, June 09, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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