“Passengers” Movie Review – Obsession Is Not Love Even If You’re In Space

Passengers 2016 Chris Pratt Jennifer Lawrence

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?

Passengers 2016 Chris Pratt Jennifer LawrenceI 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!

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

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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3 thoughts on ““Passengers” Movie Review – Obsession Is Not Love Even If You’re In Space

  1. exactly my thoughts man,
    thanks for the review,
    this is what I was looking for someone to say,
    you reaffirmed my theory about the movie’s message,
    I almost fell in what the message tried to sell me that it’s ok Aurora fell in love with Jim,
    but I knew from the start, as your sincere review says so, it’s wrong.
    Please keep on your work like these

  2. Except for the fact that if he had not awakened her they both would have died because it took two people to save the ship. If I was Aurora I too would have forgiven him simply for that fact. I know this is a flawed film, as are they all, but I liked that some of the decisions the characters made that were “off film” and so, in my head. Another one: they decided did not to have children. Why not? Another thinker. Well done Jon Spaihts.

  3. Hiya! I just watched this film for the first time over the weekend and I was looking up reviews because I honestly can’t stop thinking about it! After first watching, I was yapping all the way through that great setup with Chris Pratt alone thinking, THERE’S NO WAY HE WILL DO IT, He can’t recover from that immorality, she’ll never forgive him, etc., etc. But then he did it! Which I agree, on a horror level, that is a great plot thickener. Is he innocent and going mad from loneliness or is he an awful, selfish human being at the core? I thought it was super well done how he shrinks back to his room after she’s awakened, and is having a panic attack about it–cause it really is nuts (I am the creeper who wakes up the hottest chick on the ship in hopes of everlasting love? COME ON!) But I was able to wrestle with both of those opinions and I read a bunch of other reviews online where people hands-down thought he’s a heartless bastard, but I had to relate to how utterly maddening it would be to start obsessing over the possibility of having someone and then just being unable to let it go–especially considering the dire straits he found himself in on the ship… That he discovers a way to put her back into hibernation and she rejects it I appreciated too – people are freaken weird and make odd decisions. I read that many thought that was her stockholm syndrome kicking in, confusing her to stay awake with him… again, I appreciate that perspective, but with this movie I really was not left with a clear “yay” or “nay” feeling… I know he was wrong, however he is ultimately holographically forgiven since he does save the damn ship from total destruction. I want to believe that the love story is ok, but that is also quite hard to confirm, again, especially considering their circumstances 🙂

    In any case, I have been going back to images from the movie and thinking about it in all kinds of different ways that makes it a really dope film in my opinion. Depending on the people you know in your own life, you can see both turns of events – one horrific and one blissful with a twinge of WTF?

    I think I have to go watch it again. Damn.

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