Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Movie Review: Passengers

Passengers suffers from poor plotting and a creepy storyline that offers a lackluster redemption of the male lead. It feels rushed and undeserved and makes the movies have a strange message that leaves viewers feeling weird at the end. The movie relied on its two stars to make it succeed at the box office but bad reviews and tough competition kept if from being a breakout success.

The story is about Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) who wakes up on a spaceship due to a malfunctioning sleeping pod and finds himself stranded by himself with 90 years still to go on his journey. The movie doesn't do a great job of making it clear that Jim is alone and desperate for company. He tries a few things for entertainment including talking to the robotic bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen) but gives up and starts obsessing over another sleeping passenger.

His will breaks down rather quickly as he learns more about Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). He uses his engineering skills to rig her pod so that she'll wake up too and be stuck with her for the next 90 years. This middle act captures their romance as Jim keeps his deeds a secret making any of the affection in this part lose its effect. 

There are hints that something else is wrong with the ship that initially caused Jim to wake up. The issues grow worse until another pod malfunctions and wake up Deck Officer Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburne), he solves the mystery but is unable to fix it because he is ill due to a malfunctioning pod. He stays out of the creepy business and simply focuses on the ship's problem. Saving the day comes down to Jim and this is how he eventually earns forgiveness.

Even putting aside the strange, awkward relationship, there are plenty of confusing plot holes and foolish human decisions that make the problems more exasperating than full of tension. Passenger could have made a few better decisions in the writing process that allowed the two stars to shine but instead comes off as a disappointment in the sci-fi genre. It's too bad because there are a lot of better stories in the genre that could've have used the big budget and star actors. 

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