Thursday, April 13, 2017

Movie Review: Passengers (2016)

Passengers (2016) - Directed by Morten Tyldum; Written by Jon Spaihts; Starring Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia.

By Kenny Howell

A man basically commits murder and the object of his affection gets mad, but ultimately forgives him in this under realized space drama.

Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) plays Jim, a passenger on a voyage to a new land that gets woken up from suspended animation to soon. He is heading to Homestead II, a discovered planet light years away that will be a new home for people fleeing Earth. The passengers are supposed to stay in a suspended animation for 90 years, then awakened for the last few months of their journey to enjoy the cruise like ship. About a year in, a giant asteroid hits the ship's shield and knocks Jim's hibernation pod open.

He can't figure out how to get back in the pod, so he is forced to live alone in the ship, his only companion an android bartender played by Michael Sheen (Far from the Madding Crowd). The time alone begins to weigh on him, so he makes the rather tough, selfish decision of waking up a smoking hot girl to be his companion. That smoking hot girl is Aurora, played by Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle). She did not want to wake up early, so she initially freaks out, but Jim is charming so she tries to make the best of the situation. Of course, she finds out that he woke her up, and she doesn't handle it to well, as she shouldn't.

That is probably the biggest problem with Passengers, its total glossing over the fact that Jim gave Aurora the choice of dying alone (murder) or being his girlfriend. At its core, that is kind of creepy. They try to explain it by saying that a drowning man will grab someone to take down with him, but that doesn't mean you have to forgive that man. That's OK buddy, you were freaking out, so I am totally cool with you taking my life away.

In addition, despite Pratt and Lawrence being extremely charming actors, they never really spark anything together here. It makes it hard to get behind them, when it was already hard enough because of the situation of their getting together in the first place. I think there was some things they could have explored here a little deeper, and not just the justification for murder. These people will be in hibernation for 90 years, they left everything on Earth behind, all their friends and family who will be long dead by the time they get back to Earth. This is discussed in basically one scene, and then they get back to playing basketball or whatever "cute" scenes we can get in to the film. It's the film that should have been probably, but we got stuck with the other.

Rating: *1/2

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