- Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2016 11:33
- Written by Lupe R Haas
The spacecraft, Starship Avalon, is on a 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet known as the “Homestead Colony” with five thousand passengers in sleep chambers. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters are passengers who awake early due to a “malfunction” with their sleep chambers, but things are not what they seem.
It’s difficult to talk about the film without revealing a crucial twist in the plot. Let’s just say Chris Pratt’s Jim character does something despicable that threatens the audience sympathy for him, but Pratt is such a likable actor you can’t help but root for him. PASSENGERS screenwriter John Spaihts and Norwegian director Morten Tyldum set up a moral question about Jim’s action. As a viewer, you question your own actions in that situation. What would you do? Scroll below for spoiler review.
Critics ravaged PASSENGERS based on that twist, and some other issues the film suffers from. There are uneven tones in PASSENGERS, but for the most part, I thought the film was unique and daring to put the protagonist in a situation where audiences are questioning his morality. In the end, he more than redeems himself, but does that still make it right for what he did? That’s a question critics can’t wrap their heads around, but when faced with eternal loneliness - are you driven to desperate measures? At least Tom Hanks had Wilson in CAST AWAY.
Given the director at the helm is Norwegian explains why PASSENGERS feels like a very European film with a unique story that doesn’t fit the Hollywood mold. That alone is a reason to like this film, in addition to the great chemistry between Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. A relationship falling apart while the Starship Avalon is on a course to destruction is ironic and metaphoric.
Aside from that, PASSENGERS gets under your skin, and leaves you wondering what you just watched because it’s different than anything out there right now.
In PASSENGERS, Chris Pratt’s Jim awakens from his hyper sleep due to a malfunction after the Starship Avalon hits space debris. He finds himself alone and lonely after he realizes he will die of old age before they reach their final destination in 90 years. He frantically tries to find a fix but to no avail. A year or two has passed, and Jim is beside himself racked with loneliness. One day he sees a blonde sleeping beauty, and learns everything about Aurora (Lawrence) from her data files. After contemplating it for months, he decides he’s going to sabotage her chambers. Once she awakes, she encounters Jim and believes it was a coincidence that he was accidentally awakened as well. Like Jim, she goes through the grieving process of learning her fate, but he’s there to comfort her and eventually they fall in love.
Well, Aurora eventually finds out the truth and the relationship is over. Amidst the relationship turmoil, the space ship is malfunctioning and will eventually explode. Even though she despises him, she helps him find a solution to the impending disaster.
In the end you realize that Aurora, Jim and the other sleeping passengers would have perished if Jim hadn’t fixed the ship so in a way he redeems himself, but the question is can the viewer get passed Jim’s despicable act? I feel women viewers may be more forgiving than men.
Have you seen it? What do you think?