Passengers has been one of the most anticipated films of 2016. With two superstars like Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, it seemed to be promising, but in the end… it’s not.
Not because the film itself is bad, but because the premise, which should be thrilling (two people wake up from their sleeping pods in a spaceship 90 years before they are supposed to reach their destination) turns out to be completely terrifying in a bad way, and the outcome is even worse.
This won’t be a spoiler because it is how the film begins (but skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know), but the whole premise turns out to be that Pratt’s character, Jim, is the one who wakes up, and after a whole year bored to death, he sees Lawrence’s Aurora sleeping in her pod and decides she is the love of his life and he wakes her up, to then hide this fact from her until the very end. So basically, he is committing murder, no matter the way we see it.
But the way the film sees it is as a great romantic gesture. The entire time, the story tries to sell us Jim’s actions in a sympathetic way. Sure, Aurora falls in love with him, but she does it not knowing the truth –that he is killing her, in a way.
Passengers could have been so good if it had actually presented an ethical dilemma, but it tried so very hard to justify Jim’s actions that it made it all the worse for it. And then it justified it some more with an ending that will leave audiences either angry or sad. Or both. It’s cheap romance trying to make us forget that a guy has literally committed a long-term murder.
Still, Passengers has some good things. It doesn’t rely heavily on CGI, which is a welcome change for a sci-fi movie, and the main leads’ performances are on point – especially Lawrence, who as always, delivers her lines with a strength only she can manage. And we also get a steamy sex scene between the very attractive actors – Chris Pratt has even admitted that they both had to drink quite a few glasses of wine before filming it.
But if they filmed an alternative ending, let’s just hope it’s part of the DVD extras, so we can fix the movie at home if we want to.