Written by Nelson Cumming
I was only a baby. My mum gave me a candy as she was strolling outside with her pram. I was happy. Just as I was about to take a bite when a bitter old man snatched the candy from my feeble hands. I cried. He bellowed ” Ha Ha Ha! That was as easy as taking candy from a baby!”
Passengers reminded me of that fictitious moment in my life.
Passengers was a great experience at the start. Then the central plot point comes to fruition. I saddened by it. It all went downhill from there.
The best bits in Passengers are the setup and the chemistry between Pratt and Lawrence. The setup is that 5,000 people are in cryogenic sleep in space pods on a spaceship called Avalon as they travel from Earth to a new planet called Homested II (Homested I is not explained. Probably because adding a “II” to the end sounds smarter). The trip takes more than 120 years hence the cryogenic sleep.
Due to a system error, Pratt’s character wakes up from his slumber 90 years too early. He then tries to learn to live in social isolation. That is a pretty cool setup. There are a lot of ideas you could do there. Then it takes an awkward turn…
Pratt sees a girl in the hibernation pod (Jennifer Lawrence) that he likes and wants her as her social companion but knows that releasing her pod would mean living the rest of her life on the spaceship (essentally killing her). Being alone for a year and not being able to stand the loneliness…
HE WAKES HER UP!
That is when Passengers starts to suck.
Up until this point. I was surprised how interesting Passengers was. It has really good cinematography and set design. It was clean but not surgically clean while being futuristic but not going overly sci-fi.
The idea of being isolated on a ship was interesting and they could have explored the concepts and moral consequences of forced pre-determinism they did in Arrival. Or they could have saved that for the big reveal in the end (he wakes her up in the first act of the movie). It could of been a thriller cat-and-mouse story as well.
No. Instead they justify Pratt being a creepy dude. Essentially killing the Jennifer Lawrence character just to get a shot with her. In my opinion, that is a crappy reason for the unwanted social suicide.
This movie really is a middle of the road movie with a layer of bad. The movie tries to portray itself as high-brow because it is set in outer space. Don’t be fooled by it. It touches on ideas that not only never materialize but get so wildly misguided that it is not funny.
Then the third act goes haywire. It devolves into punchy, punchy, smashy, smashy, screamy, screamy, lovey, dovey. You have seen the ending before in a million other movies. By the end, I was wondering what movie Passengers could have been given the great setup. *1/2