Review: Passengers (2016)

Review: 1/5

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

This movie is horrifying.

You think the premise is “two people are woken early from space hibernation and have to figure out what went wrong.”

The actual premise is “kidnapped woman who was also raped by deception must work with her kidnapper, rapist, and murderer to fix broken space ship.

You can argue that the actual premise I’ve written is a little extreme, but let me argue how it is not:

1. Kidnapped. Jennifer Lawrence’s character (Aurora) is woken up without her consent because Chris Pratt’s character (Jim) decided he was in love with her. The thing about being woken up is that you can’t return to hibernation, so once you’re awake, that’s it. And when you’re 90 years away from your destination, you’re going to die before you reach it. In essence, she’s trapped here against her will.

2. Raped by deception. Jim obsesses over Aurora — watches all the videos about her, reads all her writing, etc. He never tells her that he’s the one who woke her up. He lies to her that both their hibernation pods malfunction. They start a sexual relationship, but he never tells her the truth about how she woke up. Because he knows that if he does, SHE WILL BE RIGHTLY UPSET.

3. Murder. See #1: Once you’re awake, you can’t return to hibernation. Aurora, believing her pod malfunctioned, eventually accepts that she’ll be dead before they reach the colony. But her pod didn’t malfunction. Jim INTENTIONALLY broke it to wake her up, effectively sentencing her to death and living a life ONLY WITH JIM.

When Aurora finds out (not because Jim tells her, FYI), she is understandably upset. She’s mostly upset that Jim has basically murdered her, but I think that’s because the writer is probably really tone deaf to the SEXUAL VIOLATIONS that took place and doesn’t think to mention them. What’s worse is that when Aurora tries to avoid Jim, he still tries to approach her, talks to her through the intercom, and basically doesn’t leave her alone (although he does feel sooooooo guilty).

Here’s the thing. If this movie had a less jaunty score, it would be on fucking Lifetime and Jim would RIGHTLY be the villain from whom Aurora is trying to escape. Instead, Jim “struggles” with the decision to wake up Aurora, he “struggles” with his guilt especially after she finds out, and he “struggles” to make it right. And when a third person wakes up (his pod malfunctioned too), that person encourages Aurora to forgive Jim. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.

When things go wrong on the space ship, it’s up to Jim and Aurora to fix it. When Jim is ready to die to save the ship, Aurora realizes that she doesn’t want to live without him. When they save the ship, Jim discovers a way for Aurora (and Aurora only) to hibernate and offers it to her. SHE TURNS IT DOWN, AND THEY LIVE THE REST OF THEIR LIVES ON THIS SHIP TOGETHER.

Bullshit plot aside (but never aside because it’s all I can think about), I had other issues with this movie.

For one, it wants so hard to be space Titanic:

  • The Avalon is unbreakable.
  • It’s impossible for the pods to malfunction.
  • Jim is working class while Aurora is wealthy.
  • There is literally no back up plan if things go wrong.
  • Jim almost freezes to death.
  • Aurora even says, “You die, I die!” which is very much like, “You jump, I jump!” except grosser grosser grossssssssssssssssssssss.

Aurora is a reference to Sleeping Beauty, which is really relevant since the original story is ALSO REALLY GROSS.

Often in this movie, Jim is fully clothed and Aurora is either mostly nude or wearing translucent clothing. Yes, there are two scenes where you see Pratt’s butt — one is for humor and I guess the other is for sexiness? But anytime Aurora is nude, it is for Jim’s (and the audience’s) benefit.

This is a fucking horror movie, tbh. Although, that said, that’s the ONLY WAY this movie could be good. If after Aurora’s discovery of the truth, the score changed and the movie became Aurora vs. Jim set against the backdrop of this ship coming apart. Instead, Jim is rewarded for being a monster. In fact, I feel confident I would have applauded that turn of events. The trailer presents this movie as a sci-fi thriller where something is wrong with the ship. The movie presents itself as a sci-fi romantic drama, and something is wrong with the ship — it never really recognizes the horror of Jim’s actions except as they relate to Jim’s guilt.The trailer’s movie would have been best, especially with the surprise of CHRIS PRATT as the villain. Chris Pratt, mostly known as a kind, goofy guy in real life, would be brilliantly cast as a deceptively charming man who thinks only about his needs and wants and represents a very real bad guy.

This is NOT a good movie. The only bits I liked were the space ship and space. You know, I’ll even go as far as saying the first part of the movie when Jim is wandering the ship and lonely was really wonderful. It’s when he makes the choice to wake Aurora that this movie immediately began to fail and never used the several opportunities to get back to good.

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