In the early scenes of the sci-fi drama Passengers, Chris Pratt gets to be every dope who ever woke up in the middle of the night, thought it was morning and started to make the coffee. Too bad for him, morning is still 90 years away. The time is the distant future, and Pratt plays Jim Preston, a space migrant making the 120-year trek to a privatized off-world colony. The passengers were supposed to waken in the final months of the trip, and there's no way for him to go back to sleep.
The repetitive despondency of these early scenes leads him to a moral dilemma. After nearly a year, Jim briefly considers committing suicide by throwing himself out into space. As soon as he gives up on the idea, however, he finds himself beside the hibernation pod of Aurora Dunn (Jennifer Lawrence), and sees her slumbering through the glass. He thinks the unthinkable: Jim has the power to wake Aurora up -- thereby saving himself from loneliness, but screwing her out of her life forever.
That's an astonishing and horrific decision, and if Passengers had any guts, it might have pursued the idea. But this is a big-budget sci-fi action romance starring our two biggest movie stars, so instead, we get what amounts to a somewhat skeezy meet-cute in space. At first Passengers suggests an allegory, or a moral fable about loneliness and our responsibility over others, with anti-corporate social commentary thrown in. But then it turns into a romance that jettisons almost everything that was interesting about that. And then it starts to become an action movie. What, exactly, is Passengers trying to be?