During its 120-year journey to the planet Homestead II, the colony ship Avalon encounters an asteroid field and suffers a system failure. This results in one of the spacecraft's 5,000 passengers, mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), being awoken from his hibernation pod 90 years ahead of schedule.
Having failed to repair his live-preserving pod and unable to get access to the sleeping crew, Jim comes to realise that he will live the rest of his life on the Avalon, with only a robot bartender (Michael Sheen) for company. So it goes for a full year, until Jim can't take the isolation any more and decides to sabotage the pod of a passenger he has become fascinated by, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), thus dooming her to the same fate.
For its first hour or so, Passengers looks like it's shaping up to be something very special. From the dawning horror of Jim's situation to the appalling decision he makes to relive his crushing loneliness, the story sets up major moral quandaries for its characters to deal with. A more serious version of Red Dwarf, if you will.
However, without spoiling things, the second half of the film jettisons all this out of the airlock in favour of a more action-driven dénouement, becoming a mainstream Hollywood movie in the process. This is a shame, because what could have been a complex, adult piece of sci-fi is turned into another popcorn romance, albeit one that leaves a somewhat bitter taste in the mouth when it's over.
Picture: Passenger's 2.40:1-framed Blu-ray encode paints a particularly convincing picture of sleek futurism. Large sections of the Avalon are built out of vast white spaces, the sharpness and clarity of which highlights the 1080p imagery's impeccable detailing and lends it an incredible sense of depth.
This cool modernism is contrasted with the Avalon's bar and swimming pool. The former has a warmth unmatched by other locations and is packed with small pockets of bright colour in individual drink bottles, while the latter bathes the screen in rich golden tones. Overall, this is a scintillating image. Crisp, nuanced and fault-free.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: The film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundmix demonstrates convincing positional audio around a wonderfully large soundstage. And as the action heats up in the final act, the mix keeps pace, filling the entire speaker array with dynamic effects and room-rumbling bass notes. It's punchy and involving. Our only complaint is that, once again, Sony has made the Dolby Atmos version of the track exclusive to its 4K/UHD Blu-ray platter. Which is the sort of thing that will annoy many.
Audio rating: 4.5/5
Extras: Passengers comes to Blu-ray with a fairly middling selection of bonus features. In addition to a quartet of behind-the-scenes featurettes (Casting the Passengers, Space of Screen: The Visual Effects of Passengers, On the Set with Chris Pratt and Creating the Avalon), the disc serves up eight deleted scenes, an outtakes reel and four fake ads for the Homestead Company and the Avalon.
Extras rating: 2.5/5
We say: Stunning AV credentials make Passengers a trip worth taking in your home cinema, but probably just the once…
Passengers, Sony Pictures, All-region BD, £25
HCC VERDICT: 3.5/5
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