10 Thoughts on Passengers
This past December, megastars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence stared in a scifi movie called Passengers. There was quite the hype for this movie as the trailers showed two people stranded awake on a colony ship headed for another world. It was an interesting concept with some great visuals.
However, the buzz for this movie was quickly quenched once the early reviews started coming in. Passengers is right about at 30% on Rotten Tomatoes right now, which is not good at all. That’s a surprising score for a movie that has some serious star power behind it. With the reviews coming in that low, I decided to hold off seeing it for sometime.
However this past weekend, armed with a pair of free movie passes and nothing else that interested me, we went and saw Passengers anyway. After some time to process the movie, I’m now ready to dive in! As usual, spoilers abound!
10 Thoughts on Passengers
1. Passengers was better than I expected.
Despite the poor reviews, I went into Passengers with an open mind. I love the actors, I liked the premise, so I was still hoping I’d enjoy the movie. And for the most part, I did. It wasn’t an amazing movie that I’m going to be watching over and over. But I also didn’t feel like I wasted 2 hours of my life. The movie kept me entertained for most of its run and even made me think at times. While the ending was a bit too forced in my opinion (more on that in a minute), overall I had a good time. I would definitely give it a higher rating than the 30% its at on Rotten Tomatoes.
2. The big spoiler.
One of the big reveals in the movie is that Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) actually woke up Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). And it wasn’t just an accident that he woke her up, he basically chose her specifically after he became infatuated with her. Predictably, once this spoiler made its way to the internet, there was quite the uproar. And one hand, they have a point, there is definitely a stalkerish component to this. He fell for a girl and then woke her up out of stasis, essentially giving her the choice of being with him or being just as alone. So yeah, that’s not a nice thing to do. But I also feel that people are overreacting quite a bit to this. Which leads me into…
3. What does loneliness do to you?
This is why I forgive Jim for what he did. Yes, it was a jerk move. He did steal Aurora’s planned life from her. But Jim also spent over a year in isolation with no hope of reprieve. Think about that. Humans are social creatures. Even the most isolated of us still has a chance to see someone else at some point. Jim had no one and he wasn’t ever going to. It was him, alone, on a giant metal starship for the rest of his life. He was basically on the cusp of suicide before he broke down and woke her up. There have been studies on what solitary confinement in prisons do to the mind, and this is that ratcheted up to the Nth degree.
4. The trailer vs the movie.
I think one of the big disconnects for me was between the trailer and the movie. I didn’t expect that spoiler based on the trailers I saw. There was even a line from the first trailer where we can here Jim saying “There is a reason we woke up early”. This lead me to believe there was some issue on the ship and the AI intentionally woke up a few passengers to solve the crisis. This obviously wasn’t the case. Thankfully, the premise of the movie was still interesting enough to keep my attention.
5. Plot holes…plot holes everywhere.
I am giving Passengers a lot of leeway, as it’s a movie and Hollywood always tends to bend reality, but man, there were some holes so large you could drive the ship through. Such as why there was only one autodoc for 5000 people. How Jim survived death twice at the end (from the core blast only protected by a door and his revival by Aurora button mashing the autodoc). Or that there was absolutely no contingency for someone waking up. Or that the crew quarters were impossible to break into. Or when Aurora somehow woke up after she passed out in the zero gravity pool. These are just a few that left me scratching my head.
6. Why did Aurora forgive Jim so quickly?
Aurora was pissed at Jim. Like REALLY pissed. Which makes me wonder how she forgave him so quickly. The movie doesn’t say how much time passes between their fight and Gus’s awaking, but it didn’t feel like that much time had passed. However when she almost lost him saving the ship, it’s like everything he did had been forgotten. Aurora ended up sweeping everything under the rug a bit too easily for me. If you are married, you know that fights with your spouse rarely end that smoothly…or are that quickly forgotten.
7. And then there is the ending.
The ending was very Hollywood. It was almost too much of a happy ending for me. Jim and Aurora save the ship and all the passengers (except poor Gus). When the crew finally wakes up, they see a bit of a forest on the ship, complete with chickens! Everything was wrapped up in a nice tidy bow with Jim and Aurora living happily ever after. Hmmmm.
8. The original ending.
The script for Passengers was leaked on the internet some time ago and it had a different ending. It still had a lot of the excitement at the end, however once Jim and Aurora successfully rebooted the ship’s computer, everything goes back to normal. Yet the ship also thinks its now docked on the planet and proceeds to eject all the hibernation pods into space as waste, yet with the people still in them. Aurora then realizes that Jim actually saved her from the fate all the rest of the passengers suffered and comes to forgive Jim. Personally, I like this ending better than the one in the film. It’s darker, but feels a bit more realistic. It also makes her forgiveness a lot more plausible.
9. A better ending.
However, I also read online a better ending. Someone on Reddit came up with a much more interesting ending. The idea is that Jim should have died in space after he saved the ship. In the time that follows, Aurora is left alone on the ship, now in Jim’s original shoes. As loneliness and isolation set in, she eventually succumbs to the same type of depression that befell Jim and starts to wrestle with the idea of waking someone up herself. This would have been a great plot twist that would have turned everything in the movie back on itself.
10. Andy Garcia was in the movie?
I was watching the end credits and he got listed after Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne. What? I had to hop online to see who he even was in the movie. I wasn’t sure how I missed a big name actor like that. Turns out he was the captain of the ship. You can even see him in the Trailer if you look quickly. If you don’t remember seeing the captain, you are probably not alone. He was in the movie for all of 5 seconds. He was part of the crew that woke up first and discover the forest on the deck of the ship. Such an odd role for an actor of his billing.