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Passengers

Passengers was 2016's space movie, and was on top of my watch list, but the buzz wasn't favorable so my interest waned. I wanted to give it a chance, and since I didn't read any review or criticism about this, I didn't know what to expect. In general, it isn't as bad as the buzz made it sound. It had good factors and bad ones, but this was a mediocre outing from Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. *contains spoilers*

The Starship Avalon has been traveling to Homestead II for quite some time. When the ship collided with a meteor, it causes a malfunction. This results to Jim Preston to wake up, with the ship's automated program telling him that they will be arriving at the new planet soon. He eventually finds out that he is alone on the ship, and that his pod has malfunctioned, causing him to wake up ninety years before he had to. After sometime, he stumbles onto the pod of Aurora Lane, and eventually wakes her up. 

The technical side was in the favor of the film. The CGI work was great, the cinematography was amazing, and the set looked really slick. I mean, I would love to swim in that space pool. The spacewalk Jim and Aurora take reminded me of Wall-E, so that was a good scene for me. It looks like something straight from an action/adventure movie, but space dramas could work too. Unfortunately, the story doesn't complement the aesthetic. 

The story tries to hunker down on the ethics and morality of the situation, and it does do that in some way. Jim does take his time on deciding if he should wake her up, and while his actions afterwards can be unethical (he does woo this person), there is some kind of humanistic reasoning to it. I'm not dismissing his decision because he felt guilty in some way, but he was in an uncertain situation and is completely alone. His situation is similar to the story in Moon, where a man has been living in the moon by himself for years, and has an AI for company. He ends up waking Aurora around 40-50 minutes into the movie, and the issue basically ends there. There is no depth. When Aurora finds out what's he done, his apologies seem so disconnected that they only end patching things up when they were both in danger of dying. Then, the movie makes Jim a martyr with all his speeches, thus glorifying him. I cannot put my mind around how Aurora's personality just did a turn after beating him up. 

Speaking of Jim Preston, Chris Pratt was extremely disconnected to the movie. It looked like he was just pulling off motions and mouthing his lines, moving from one scene to the next. He was a character that people were to sympathize with but it wasn't there. It is terrible to be alone on a ship that's getting destroyed, but I cannot feel anything for him. The only time Pratt has exhibited any kind of emotion was when his character was thinking about killing himself and was standing at the air dock. Jennifer Lawrence's performance was a bit better, but there were scenes where she was over the place. I think she fit the character of Aurora Lane well, but minus the character story, I think that her dramatic performance was similar to her other movies, and she was better in those movies. Michael Sheen, who plays an android, gives a good performance despite his limited screen time. Another character, played by Laurence Fishburne, appears for 10 minutes and is mainly used to push the narrative to its conclusion. 

The tone of the movie eventually shifts when Fishburne is put to play, going to the adventure route in order to give the movie a satisfying end. Even that climax was so underwhelming. There was no sense of urgency from both characters; they appear to be dispassionate through the whole ordeal. I think this would have worked if it was a bit more on the action/adventure side. There was a lack of character development and depth. It also ran way too long for a movie that doesn't have a lot of meat. I was expecting it to be worst, but it doesn't sound as bad as it was made out to be. 

Comments

  1. Yeah, this was just mediocre. It's got nice visuals and decent performances but the story is terrible. I mean, wouldn't there be some crew to wake up in case something like this happen and to fix everything so that Chris Pratt can go back to sleep or something?

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    1. That's a plot hole that could easily be remedied. A company who is known for that kind of service should have a contingency plan, it's impossible they don't have one.

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  2. I haven't seen this yet, but Pratt is getting worse and worse in everything I see him in, so I'm not surprised he isn't very good here.

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    1. It's so hard to connect with him here, and he is the character that you're supposed to connect with. It's definitely not one of his best.

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