Hard pass on ‘Passengers’

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 at 6:18 PM
Hard pass on ‘Passengers’ by Gabriel Hypes

When I think of a movie about two people being stranded in space, where they will spend the rest of their life alone, a love story is not the first thing I would hope for. “Passengers” tells a story that no one really cares about. With a great premise, a man woken up 90 years early on a 120 year journey to a new world, it sets up unlimited possibilities for an eerie tale.

Instead, we get a half baked love story with a non-major threat thrown in at the end, even after being hinted at slightly throughout the movie.

As proof of Passengers having a chance of being a great sci-fi flick, the film starts out pretty strong. Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) wakes up ready to start living a new life until he discovers his early rise.

He runs all over this high tech spaceship showing off all its features (which was pretty awesome), trying to find a way to get back to sleep. After no luck, he begins to accept his fate and begins to look on the brighter side and starts enjoying what he has.

After months go by, he becomes bored after doing the same thing over and over. Slowly losing his will to live, he sees another passenger, Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence), that he feels is love at first sight. Diving deeper and deeper into madness, he decides to wake Aurora up.

This is the point that the mystery is at its peak and the point where the movie comes to a fork in the road. It can either elevate into a great, mysterious movie that could stand tall with other well received recent sci-fi films like “Arrival” and Martian or it can bore us all the way to the end and leave us wondering what if. If you couldn't guess, it takes the latter route.

Without going into spoiler territory any more than I already have, the whole second half of the film involved sexual tension and the threat of the ship breaking down. I found myself just waiting for something interesting to happen, but it never really came.

Even when the ship does start experiencing problems, at an hour and 15 minutes into its hour and 56 minute runtime, I had no real interest in the characters and did not really care what happened to them. The second half of “Passengers” just left me bored and checking the remaining time left in it.

Before I give my parting shots on Passengers, I want to go back to what I thought this movie could be when it took the wrong fork in the road. “Passengers” makes the mistake of making a cool space flick into a romantic comedy of sorts.

I mean, imagine if it wasn't the Hollywood stud Chris Pratt that was the one to wake up. What if it was someone who wasn't People magazine's "Hottest Man Alive" in 2014? Would we still have a he would do knowing he will spend the rest of his life alone. It would keep the mystery alive throughout the film rather than just killing it so quickly.

Any other angle would have worked better than what we actually got. How cool would it be if they just had hundreds of kids and grandkids and then in the 90 years when the rest of the passengers wake up, they connection between Jim and Aurora?

Before the point where Jim wakes up Aurora, we had a montage of over a year. What if we found out Jim had been waking up women for years and Aurora was just another link in the chain. It would set up a horror movie in space where he has been using humans as toys and throwing them away when he was done with them, trading them in for a new one.

Imagine a situation where Jim was woken up on purpose. Maybe someone is watching him to see what have no idea what actually happened. Obviously that idea is a little far fetched, but it still would have been more enjoyable than the actual movie. The movie was often laughable throughout, proof of that being naming a character "Aurora" in a space movie and then having your other character named "Jim." “Passengers” is a great example of a movie that could have been so much more, but just couldn't amount to anything.

Gabriel Hypes can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com 

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