According to the Norwegian director Morten Tyldum, Gene Roddenberry got it all wrong. Space isn’t the final frontier; love is. At least, that’s the case during his film Passengers, an Adam-and-Eve story set among the stars. Jon Spaihts, the screenwriter for Doctor Strange and Prometheus, genetically engineers the script as the perfect date-night movie. Sci-fi addicts will board the Starship Avalon and get fired up by its nuclear core explosions and Kubrickian set designs, all chilly white and exquisitely fabricated. But squint ever so slightly, and suddenly rom-com tropes start bouncing weightlessly across the screen. Jim (Chris Pratt) meets Aurora (the unflappable Jennifer Lawrence) after a pod-induced hibernation. They’re traveling light years across the universe to colonize Homestead II, an Avatar-like Pandora planet, as yet unsullied by human hands. But along the complicated journey toward love, there are obstacles like meteor fields and malfunctioning software. The costume designer dresses Lawrence in gossamer fabrics, all rustling sheers and suggestive netting, like Barbarella if she’d had a complete makeover of her wardrobe and personality alike. Aurora is the alpha figure on board and the brains, confident and comfortable in her own skin. Pratt does an excellent job of keeping a straight face as he stares out at all the CGI. There is no gravity to this interstellar love story, but these two stars have never been more likable.
Now playing at the Century San Francisco Centre 9.