“Passengers” Fails to Meet Expectations (Review)

Dec 27, 2016

Passengers (2016)
Columbia Pictures

Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Produced by: Neal H. Moritz, Stephen Hamel, Michael Maher, Ori Marmur
Written by: Jon Spaihts
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy García

The Good
Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence’s chemistry is a nice focal point for the film. It really drives home the romantic love-story angle for the majority of the movie. However, without giving anything away (and depending on which trailer you’ve seen), this film does raise some very interesting topics surrounding the issue of consent. (I think my feminist friends will have a field day with this film.) What I appreciate about Passengers is that it challenges some moral positions given some of the characters’ decisions.

The visuals are pretty nice given all of the futuristic, yet practical, technological advances. There are a few pockets of suspense sprinkled toward the end of the film. There is one scene especially that I think really showcases the unique dangers and terrors of being in space.

The Bad
I think my issue with this film is the marketing. The trailer gives you the impression that two people woke up early for some mysterious reason, and danger is afoot with the ship. Well, that’s only partially true. What was so enticing about the trailer is that it leads you to believe that there’s a greater mystery that needs to be solved (i.e., What was the reason why they woke up early?). Unfortunately, you find out the reason rather soon into the movie, and then it jettisons into more of the love story. Now this may not be an issue for those going in cold, but it definitely messed with my expectations and didn’t end with a good enough payoff for me.

Also, I personally wasn’t a fan of the “magical negro” cameo in the film. I just think that the film could’ve found another way to progress the story without having to include such a random character. That’s all I’ll say about that.

The Reason
If you did see the trailer like I did, then you’d probably expect that this film was going to be a sci-fi heavy, suspense thriller. Instead it’s more of a lite sci-fi romantic film with a splash of suspense. I’d probably say that Passengers is about 65 percent romance, 25 percent sci-fi, and 15 percent suspense and thriller. You can think of this film as Gravity + Castaway Titanic. It’s worth a watch, but I’d avoid the trailers, and I’d also go in with low expectations.