Passengers (2008) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Drama / Mystery|
|Sony || PG13 - 93 minutes - $34.95 || May 12, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-08-12|
Writer(s): Ronnie Christensen (written by)
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Patrick Wilson, Andre Braugher, Dianne Wiest, Clea DuVall
Theatrical Release Date: October 24, 2008
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Plot: While helping a handful of plane crash survivors cope with their grief, young psychologist Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway) begins to uncover conflicting accounts of the accident. At first, Claire believes that trauma is behind her patients’ wildly different stories – until the survivors mysteriously begin disappearing one by one. Now Eric (Patrick Wilson), a surviving passenger she has grown dangerously close to, may hold the key to unlocking the truth about the tragic incident.
** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS **
By no means is Passengers a unique film. In fact, it’s downright predictable and the script could’ve been slightly modified and marketed as an in-direct sequel to that 1999 twist-above-all-twists drama starring Bruce Willis. Sorry, did I give it away? Personally, I didn’t have much of a problem with the “twist” this go around and while the script – from Ronnie Christensen’s (TV movie 10.5 and Chameleon 3: Dark Angel) screenplay – is somewhat honest with how these characters interact with one another, it also stalls in the second act.
The film takes a turn as Claire tries to figure out a possible conspiracy with the crash. Was it pilot error or something more sinister? Well, the funny thing is, Claire, while trying to help other victims (including Clea DuVall who pops up every so often in smaller roles), she also comforts the mysterious Eric by, well, hopping into bed with him after a night on a cold lake (after he steals a boat). Although I could believe the attraction between the two of them, all I kept thinking was: when are they going to reveal the twist?
In any case, the film features some ‘haunting’ scenes from a dog constantly barking at one of the survivors to mysterious people appearing at odd moments with seemingly malicious intentions. And when you add the appearance of Dianne Wiest as the all too friendly neighbor, you can’t help but chuckle a little.
That being said, I did enjoy parts of Passengers. I am a sucker for dramas and Anne Hathaway, so thus you put the two together and I was able to tolerate some of the film’s shortcomings and predictability. I think the film gets a bad rap which is a shame. No, it’s not an original movie but the performances are adequate and it’s at least mildly paced to keep my attention through its 88-minute running time (minus credits).
Passengers was directed by Rodrigo Garcia who also helmed various TV shows, Gabriel Byrne’s “In Treatment” the most recent. The movie also features a talented supporting cast that includes Patrick Wilson (Watchmen), Andre Braugher (The Mist) and my personal favorite supporting actor David Morse (Disturbia).
Feature Commentary – Director Rodrigo Garcia and Actor Patrick Wilson sit down for an informative but kind of average commentary track where they talk about various aspects of the story, filming certain scenes and directing styles. The track would’ve been better off including the writer or, better yet, Ms. Hathaway herself...
There are a couple of featurettes: Analysis of the Plane Crash (16:28; HD) and The Manifest and Making of Passengers (23:15; HD) are both decent looks at how the film was made. The first featurettes covers how the plane crash was shot using CGI while the second takes us behind the scenes with comments from the cast and crew.
Deleted Scenes (7:16) – 3 inconsequential scenes that were cut for the right reasons. They are also basically alternates to what was used in the final film.
Last is a BD-Live portal.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Passengers is presented with a 2.40 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. Obviously because it’s a recent release, the transfer looks clean as far as scratches are concerned. Now, I did notice a bit of grain and noise especially on people’s faces. Other than that, the colors look on par with what would be expected with the chosen palette with a kind of washed out look during day scenes intermingled with the numerous night scenes.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track isn’t overly impressive but good enough. The track is mostly good for the dialogue which remained clear and consistent throughout with the rear and front channels getting used during the short crash scenes.
Passengers could’ve been better. The cast are all good but the screenplay falls short with a twist that anyone can see coming. However, I still was mildly entertained but can only make a moderate recommendation...