Passengers  (2016)

I had seen a few moments of trailers leading up to this movie, but I have a weird habit of avoiding trailers for movies that I'm interested in, because I want to go in completely fresh. Trailers give away too much, in my opinion, so I'd rather just have an idea about two people alone on a spaceship and go into it mostly unknowing.

The problem with that approach is that the little bit of footage I saw gave me an expectation of a much different movie than what I saw. I rewatched a full trailer, and I'm not sure why (maybe Michael Sheen's replication of the demon bartender from The Shining), but at the time I thought it would be a much more sinister movie; instead I got a though experiment/character study that actually worked better than just an updated version of "Event Horizon".

(side note: something like this happened for the movie "White Out" - the trailer, for whatever reason, gave me the impression it would be something of a supernatural thriller, instead I got a crime drama. When I rewatched the trailer, I couldn't exactly figure out what made me think "supernatural".)

A few thousand people are aboard a spaceship heading to a new planet, about 120 years of traveling at half the speed of light. Jim (Chris Pratt) is woken out of cryo-slumber early, and panics as he realizes he is the only one awake. The ship is designed to react to various human stimuli, so he is able to find food to survive, but the overwhelming loneliness and the prospect of spending the next few decades in solitude begins to weigh on him.

I don't want to spoil how Jennifer Lawrence gets involved, so I'll just say this: I'm pretty tired of J-Law. I don't know if it's just getting burned out after so many Hunger Games and X-Men movies, or whether I'm starting to realize that she always acts sort of the same regardless of the movie, or what...but I'm just over her. Chris Pratt was good, Michael Sheen was great as the cyborg bartender, but Jennifer Lawrence just fell flat.

After it was released, I heard a lot of negativity around this movie, which is also what kept me from watching it for a while. There were a lot of parts that didn't make sense, but for the most part I was able to suspend disbelief. Instead of focusing on why the spaceship "woke up", I just sat and thought about what it would be like to be faced with pure isolation for the rest of my life. Would I scramble around, trying to hack into the computer to communicate with someone, would I try to wake others so they could help me, would I become so overwrought with despair that I ended my life? Would I write a journal so the other will know what happened? Would I bother still keeping a journal after a month? Or would I just completely let go of any cares, wander around the spaceship, getting drunk and staring at the stars until I died?

 

[Celluloid Hero] gives "Passengers" a 6 out of 10.

 

 

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