So, where am I going with this? I think misrepresentation is a common problem with many movies and has been for quite some time. Apparently our species has a propensity to label everything for the purpose of adhering to a spoon-fed notion of how things are supposed to be. Essentially, genres are labels that categorize our expectations for the outcome of a movie. For example, if I’m in a a bad mood, a comedy might resonate much better than say a war movie. So, when the pre-buzz of a film promises science fiction then by gum give me science fiction. If genres are to mean anything, the goods need to deliver on the promise!
The biggest problem with Passengers isn’t that its a bad film but rather it’s a mislabeled sci-fi film. If you’re expecting an exponential experience like Arrival then you’ll be seriously disappointed. The trailers for Passengers are an example of Hollywood ambiguity at it’s best. Was it a sci-fi film? An action film? How about an adventure film? While cautiously excited, my hopeful expectations were quickly shattered half way through the screening. At it’s best, Passengers plays out more like a Titanic film in space. Ugh, I felt bamboozled!
However, provided it’s understood before hand, I have no qualms about a good old fashion love story. In fact, romantic films can do wonders for the spirit. Is it a guilty pleasure? No, that would imply I’m ashamed for being a romantic or apologizing for liking (harmless sap) like 50 First Dates etc…
Ultimately, I have to review this movie beyond prior assumptions. Just because Passengers takes place in space, where the sole purpose of the ships occupants is to colonize distant galaxies, doesn’t mean there can’t be room for steamy love. Hmm, is there a label for this? Sci-Fi Romance perhaps? Heck, it’s not like quantum physics and cellular mod regeneration can’t rub elbows with a little love angst.
As a love story, Passengers succeeds in conveying a simple serendipitous idea where love always finds a way. Maybe director Morten Tyldum never intended anything more than that. A beautiful film singing the praises of beautiful people in love. Jennifer Lawerence and Chris Pratt both act convincingly enough in their roles, although some may see Jim’s (Chris Pratt) actions towards Aurora (Jennifer Lawerence) as creepy and dangerous.
While it plays out like a traditional romance film, it would’ve been nice to see the formulaic trope removed and in turn changed to a woman’s POV. To see the sequence of events played out through the eyes of Aurora (Jennifer Lawerence) would’ve really added a fresh narrative on the assumed conclusion.
For what it’s worth, Passengers is a an enjoyable romance film with sci-fi packaging. Just know what your getting before the movie starts.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in an exciting action-thriller about two passengers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early. Jim and Aurora are forced to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction as the ship teeters on the brink of collapse, with the lives of thousands of passengers in jeopardy.
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne
Screenplay by: Jon Spaihts
Directed by: Morten Tyldum