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PASSENGERS, 2016 (Read 910 times)
Jan 30th, 2017 at 10:33am

L.A. Connection   Offline
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Surprised nobody has started a thread on this one. It's gotten mediocre reviews, but has made nearly $100M.

It's also a tough one to discuss without spoilers. They will be below and clearly tagged.

In general, I thought the movie was better than the reviews. The acting is fine with a limited cast (mainly Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence). The production design and music are very good (both Oscar nominated), as is Rodrigo Prieto's camerawork (he's nominated for SILENCE). The premise is intriguing if not highly original (apparently Harlan Ellison has complained; and others have cited antecedents). The basic idea is that a crew of 5,200 people is in hibernation on a 120 year journey to another planet. By accident, Pratt's character Jim gets awoken - 90 years early! And, later, so does Lawrence's (Aurora). But, the crux of the movie is a major moral dilemma which pops up about a third of the way into the movie (discussed below). For the most part it is handled well enough. Unfortunately, the last act dashes much of that goodwill, if not entirely. So, if you haven't seen it, then it's worth a look for sci-fi fans. Others beware.


The turning point of the movie is when Jim makes the choice to manually awaken Aurora because he is alone and knows he will likely die that way long before reaching the other planet. He becomes smitten with her after reading her profile in the ship's logs (really!). And, that's where the movie falls apart for most people. By waking her up, he essentially dooms her to the same fate as he. And, of course, he assumes they will become a 'desert island' couple. It's certainly a moral dilemma. But, I think the script, for the most part, addresses the issues. But, others can't get over Jim's actions, and have taken to calling his character a selfish bastard all the way up to a sexual predator. I don't argue with critics on the film about their attitude towards Jim, but, I do defend Screenwriter John Spaihts (DR.STRANGE), Director Morten Tyldum (IMITATION GAME) and the cast for how they play out the situation. There's nothing wrong with depicting a morally dubious decision. In fact, that is the primary drama here. It's really not that far different from what they did in numerous episdodes of The Twilight Zone, for instance. But, now, our judgemental social media zealots won't even entertain that debate. Now, the last act? That I won't and can't defend. It is very much a "Hollywood Ending" that invites and deserved ridicule. Apparently, Spaiht's original script (which was in much demand during its 10 year development), handled things a bit differently.
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