Morten Tyldum’s Passengers (2017) Movie Review
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Patt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Aurora Perrineau, Julee Carda & Kimberly Battista
Directed by Morten Tyldum
Edited by Maryann Brandon
Cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto
Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 116 Minutes
Post watching the film, this is how I imagined the pitch for this movie went…
Director: We have great script for a low budget sci-fi film. Picture this… Starship Avalon is travelling a 90 year exploration to Homestead II (Earth like planet) a few asteroids hit the shop and a guy wakes up alone 90 years prematurely on a spaceship, due to a technical glitch. He can’t go back to hibernation, so he knows he is doomed to live out his life alone with an android bartender named Arthur. Then he falls in love with another passenger in hibernation, and decides to wake her up, because well he fell in love with her after just a small glance and reading her journalistic works. That’s where he wrestles with the moral and ethical dilemma of waking her, to become adam-eve of Avalon.
Producer: Man, this sounds similar to Moon…
Director: Yeah, Moon was perfect…
Producer: But it didn’t heap money.
Director: Are you saying No?? If you want let’s add few things from Castaway and Titanic for some commerciality.
Producer: No No, let’s throw in another 100 million dollars on the budget, and make them save the ship for greater good.
Writer: but… *seeing the face of the director*
Producer: Are you saying no??
Director: No. You’re genius Sir. *winks at the writer*
You got an rising director in Morten Tyldum (who helmed 2001’s good indie film Headhunters), two of the most gifted and beguiling actors working today and a script that’s been blacklisted for several years,so how do you muck it all up so spectacularly.
Let’s to be fair, it’s not like they did’t try at least for a while. The first 15 minutes of this film where it’s just Pratt. There are few interesting moments like “Cast Away” in space, with Pratt delivering a pretty good performance and there’s even some good imaginary and then they threw that all away once he wakes up Aurora (Lawrence), I can’t feel sorry for this character at all (This character becomes so completely unlikeable, unredeemable and sheer crawly, that I feel no sympathy nor care about the char in any way possible) and they are forced to work together to save the ship from imminent doom. I don’t even care for how much they tried to get me to feel bad for him/her or his Stockholm syndrome situation. I’m sorry there’s no way, it was way to cliched and ballsed up. And it’s not the actors fault both Pratt and Lawrence deliver fine enough, it’s the way this film is written, which I can only imagine was rewritten – rerewritten a million times once it got to Sony,that it just makes this inexcusable.
It’s not only the content of Passengers that’s the problem. It’s how it treats it like, a capricious space romance adventure. It wouldn’t be such an issue if it was fully acknowledged as Stockholm syndrome in Space, but instead it’s this gross entitlement Fantasy and makes prodigious waste of talent, premise and money.
Adding to that film is riddled with too many plot holes, schmaltz, shortcuts and lapses in logics. Like, when they were shipping people to live permanently on a frontier world. This was not a luxury cruise or a vacation, it was an emigration. Everyone was apparently put to sleep on Earth, then their pods sent to the ship. Why on ship with nearly 5258 people, is there only one medical care pod? Not even a single stasis machine on board in a huge ship that’s has facilities from swimming pool to concord area to luxurious rooms. And Aurora had a round-trip ticket, (after living on Homestead II for a year), How will Avalon return back when there is no facility to get back to Hibernation mode? Why doesn’t Starship plan to wake up any crew member to adjust its trajectory when it was about to have an head on collision with the asteroids, what’s even worse is Gus (a man from nowhere) realizes the ship is in real danger – he was about to die in matter of hours. But still he never tries to wake up any crew member to be sure the ship is in safe hands, nope he decides to go with the two bozos (who don’t know any thing about the ship besides reading manuals). They even try to break the physics barriers by playing with gravitation in space, when Jim space jumps of the ship, we get a close up of his face, where he cries a tear which – rolls down his cheek, seriously?. And my most favorite part, Pratt does not die of radiation poisoning even after being next to out of control sun plasma and it doesnt melt him because he had powerful cover and hella of a suit. Booyah.
Passengers isn’t all bad. Despite sheer absurdness of nearly everything out here, its fine in technical departments. Thomas Newman lends the film an exceptional score and the whole effort is quite nicely shot by Rodrigo Prieto. The film is good from the visual standpoint. The VFX work for that zero gravity pool sequence was pretty cool.
On the whole, In Passengers leaving the technical stuff and decent acting part aside, movie ends up falling flat thanks to its brusquely script and vapid execution of an promising idea. As a conversation remarks in the film…
Gus: Whats wrong.
Avalon: 617 disorders detected… (Movie is self aware…)
Survi Review: 1.5/5