I watched Passengers because I had nothing else better to do. I thought I would enjoy the sci-fi love story. However, I was not ready for the creepy movie that consumed nearly two hours of my life.
Warning: This review contains some spoilers for Passengers. Proceed at your own risk.
The trailers for Passengers had me intrigued. It already had a creepy vibe, showing two people alone in a huge spaceship. Chris Pratt always looks fine onscreen and Jennifer Lawrence guarantees impressive acting skills. So, I decided to watch it.
For me, the trailers made the film look like a love story between two people as they tried to prevent a spaceship from blowing up. And that’s exactly what the film showed me, except for the fact that the actual plot would’ve worked better as an actual horror story.
Due to a ship malfunction, Jim (Chris Pratt) wakes up from hibernation 90 years before everyone else. He is part of a 120-year voyage, consisting of 5,259 people, to a faraway colony planet. While Jim has the whole spaceship to himself, he knows that he won’t be able to stay alive long enough for the ship to reach its destination.
What follows are scenes where we see Jim obsessing over a hibernating Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence). Jim goes through her files and videos and decides that he’s in love with her. We also get moments where he tries to battle with his morality. He knows that waking Aurora up would mean that she won’t be able to reach her intended destination. But what can Jim do? He loves her and doesn’t want to be alone. He has to wake her up, right?
So, Jim forced Aurora out of hibernation and then proceeded to tell her that it was due to a malfunction just so he could go out on dates, sleep with her, etc.
Seeing Jim and Aurora being romantic with each other felt creepy because I, as a viewer, knew what Jim had done. He had forced his own feelings on a woman and had pulled her away from the life she could’ve had. What’s worse is that after Aurora gets to know that Jim had forced her awake, we get a redemption arc where Jim tries to make up for his mistake and Aurora starts to love him back.
Jennifer Lawrence is a very good actress. However, in Passengers her character is nothing more than an object for Jim to obsess over. I really don’t understand how such a $120 million-budget movie got made. Did no one at the studio think that the love story they were trying to tell was dangerously close to Stockholm Syndrome?
I wouldn’t have minded Jim waking up Aurora if the plot didn’t paint it as love. It would’ve worked far better if Jim went completely crazy and locked Aurora up only to start waking other women and repeating the things he did with Aurora. That would’ve given Aurora’s character some meaning as she tries to break free from captivity and help Jim’s other victims.
The plot would’ve made even more sense if it was the robot bartender who woke Aurora up because it felt sorry for Jim. At least that could’ve brought down the creepiness levels down a few notches.
Going through some of the early reviews for Passengers, I’ve read a lot of worrying comments. People are brushing the whole thing aside as entertainment. I get it. No one needs to dive deeper into the messages of a film if they don’t want to, but how can one consider this plot as entertainment when it is so flawed?
A guy wakes up by accident and decides to wake up a pretty girl from hibernation, taking away her future, because he doesn’t want to be lonely, and they soon fall in love.
That’s the actual plot of the film!
How did it even get made? And why are people okay with brushing it off as entertainment?
Films have an impact on society. You might be able to separate problematic themes in movies as entertainment, but there are numerous people out there who might end up following those themes. As far as Passengers goes, it shows that it is okay to force your own feelings on a woman you like because sooner or later she will forgive you and love you back.
Trying to justify this as something positive shouldn’t even be a thing. It doesn’t matter if you look like Chris Pratt or not. What is wrong is wrong, even if done for the sake of entertainment and being shown as a love story.
Did you watch Passengers? What did you think? Let us know!
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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