Quick Hit: Falling short of all it could have been, this film rides its stars charisma to being eternally average.
Ok, so we all know the story of Passengers. A story that bounced upon the Blacklist for many years, it finally gained two charismatic stars to be made. Everyone was extremely excited for it, and then the critics panned it. Though nominated for an Oscar, it never really felt like it garnered any attention.
“Why is this?” You may ask. Well, I’m hoping that’s one reason you tune into my reviews. I hope to shed light on some things, or at least give an opinion on some of film’s big questions. You see, I think that this one is fairly easy for me. The reason that Passengers isn’t going to be immortalized as a great movie is because it was a giant case of genre mix-up.
Let’s get this out of the way first – we all know I’m not opposed to a great love story. But here, it’s not set up to be a perfect love story, in the same way that Alien or The Shining isn’t set up to be a good love story. They’re set up to be horror films, and I think this is the same way. It’s the story of a man that essentially ruins a woman’s life, and then through the awkwardness of Stockholm syndrome, has her decide to spend her life with him. It’s not a perfect love story.
Allow me to paint my picture with a few scenes and details. First, the ideas and themes presented in this film. Loneliness. Boredom. Robots with self-awareness. Space Danger. What at first I saw as essentially Wall-e, I quickly realized was much more akin to Alien or 2001: A Space Odyssey. And it’s easy to see the draws to that and the shining with the different visuals. Even the robot, who is easily a blatant representation of the bartender in The Shining – who is a ghost that only Jack Torrance can see. None of this is whimsical – it’s scary.
Second, there is the scene where Lawrence is running through the hallways, and trying desperately to avoid Pratt’s voice that is booming through the speakers. It’s terrifying. And Lawrence plays it perfectly, screaming as the sound of the scene fades out. The same thing happens when she finds out that Pratt woke her up. Even the sex scenes in this film have an air of horror to them – rarely are they gentle, instead they are sudden and violent. I know that is meant to convey need, but when you take it in the package with the rest of the film, it all seems scary.
I think that’s why I didn’t love Passengers, and just thought it was an average film. I liked the performances, (despite the fact I thought that Fishburne’s character was a plot cop-out) and I liked the visuals. The scene with the pool losing gravity was awesome in a 10/10 kind of way. But the movie, which had been so strong, fizzles towards the end by showing us exactly what you expect and want to happen. It’s no mystery why – Hollywood loves the romance, and horror films tend to ride low on the prestige circuit. But what ultimately could have been an “A”, ends up as a “C+”.
Thanks for reading.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"