The Passengers Review: Too many holes everywhere

Passengers takes a bold jump in the right direction only to fall short of expectations
Passengers

[T]here are moments when a single movie tries to cleverly intertwine various genres together in good taste. Doing so however requires an immense amount of expertise and experience. To quote a reference or example from outside of the world of movies, Asimov would be the right choice. The story behind I,Robot was a story written by the greatest legendary science fiction writer in order to disprove to a friend that science fiction could not be wielded together with other genres. He successfully displayed that a very clever story could certainly be written which joined together the magic of a detective story along with that of science fiction. His story not only exhibited the feature of nestling genres within genres but also lighting them up with plot devices that are created from within the sci fi machine.

Passengers attempts to do just that with not only one but 4 different genres altogether – specifically Sci-Fi, Romance, Action and Suspense. One thing Sony forgot before funding the ambitious Passengers project however was that Morten Tyldum is not Christopher Nolan and that Jon Spaihts is not Isaac Asimov. This is the kind of team you need when your attempting to build something as big as Passengers was attempting to be. Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity was such an attempt and was weaved with the precision of a scientist in strumming the correct points together to hit the nail right in the head. It builds up slowly and towards one aim. The book could have been used as a reference and ideally a lot of time was supposed to have been spent on the script. It is very evident watching the movie that alot of cut backs and revisions were made in the writing. This badly affected the final quality of Passengers and that is evident to anyone that witnesses the movie.

Lawrence displays solid acting

The Sci Fi romance starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt is set aboard the Avalon; a gargantuan spaceship that has almost all the facilities a current day luxury ocean liner would have except suited for space travel. It seems in the world of Passengers that human beings have not figured out a clever way to warp space-time and instead rely on staying in suspended animation or cryo-sleep for more than a century in order to reach their destination. This trope has been utilized in Interstellar as well where we are led to believe that the science of slowing down the ageing process has advanced to such a level that it can cause humans to completely stop ageing for almost a hundred years! Well if such a science did exist then it makes sense that humans would have evolved onto a higher plane requiring the build up of a complex world that backs up the entire setting displayed in the movie. The entire setting of the space ship, the technologies and the culture portrayed gives the impression of an era that is set only 50 years ahead of our current time. The intent however is to show a world that is set hundreds if not thousands of years into the future. I am pretty sure that the AI is far more intelligent in the era that was showed – since when did we regress in that department.

What could have been a classic attempt to build a magnificent star ship world full of moral and philosophical ambiguities crashes into a meteor of mediocrity so hard that it leaves dents and holes all over the places that cause immense failures in performance at every single end. And no matter how good the attempts of Pratt and Lawrence were, they could not save the sinking ship from disappointing. 

Now I would usually forgive the science in a movie that has a focus on another genre and only uses the science as a setting, but focus should be given to at least get the concepts right since the masses do usually contain a space nerd or two like myself. The idea behind such large ships that take centuries to reach their destinations are usually planned to be generation ships. Generation ships require that the families on board the ships have offspring and the offspring then have offspring until a hundred years later when the destination is reached. The offspring thus arise at the destination. A better, far more interesting love story could have been written if this was the premise! 

Instead we are left with a story that barely utilizes the plot devices. A story like this could have been set in New York – having the space ship and all didn’t make much of a difference towards anything. The movie attempted to be an action, romance and mystery at the same time all within the confines of a shadow sci fi world with the most underdeveloped plot devices. 

What could have been a classic attempt to build a magnificent star ship world full of moral and philosophical ambiguities crashes into a meteor of mediocrity so hard that it leaves dents and holes all over the places that cause immense failures in performance at every single end. And no matter how good the attempts of Pratt and Lawrence were, they could not save the sinking ship from disappointing. 

Comments

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6.3
The Good
  • The Fancy CGI
  • The Idea
  • The Acting
The Bad
  • The Story
  • Poorly developed plot devices
  • Annoying bartender
  • Acting
    7
  • Music
    7
  • Story
    5
  • Direction
    5
  • Script
    5
  • Cinematography
    9
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