Passengers (2016)
December 27, 2016 7:35 AM - Subscribe

A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.
posted by LizBoBiz (31 comments total)
 
The fact that Chris Pratt's character is not ultimately portrayed as the villain made this borderline unwatchable for me. How this got green-lit as is in 2016 is baffling.
posted by French Fry at 8:20 AM on December 27, 2016 [13 favorites]


Everything I've read about it suggests that it continues to normalize the stalker-as-ultimately-loveable trope. My partner and I were listening to a review about it on the CBC and he said, "Oh my god, what an asshole. That is so fucked up to have woken her up just because his sorry ass was lonely. How in the hell did anyone think that was a good movie idea??"
posted by Kitteh at 8:41 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


"as a result, two passengers are awakened"

According to the trailer, anyway, but fuck that handwaving bullshit.

One of them is purposely awakened and victimized by the other one, condemning her to age and die with only her fucking stalker for company. SOUNDS GREAT, HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY.
posted by theatro at 8:44 AM on December 27, 2016 [14 favorites]


Were it not for familial obligations I wouldn't have seen it, as I had heard similar things, didn't think they would be as bad as they are. It's shocking, so much that you think, maybe this is going to like turn into a horror movie. Which could have been interesting. But no. You get the distinct impression that the filmmakers genuinely don't see the problem. Which is the real horror story.
posted by French Fry at 8:46 AM on December 27, 2016 [14 favorites]


I agree with all the above, but I also have just a smidge of heart for Chris Pratt's character because was was totally alone for more than a year, which would make anyone go crazy. It would have been more interesting if they had him wake her up but he was still crazy and now she's stuck on this ship alone with a maniac.

What piss-poor risk management strategies that company has though. Not a single live person you can talk to for 55 years. The computer that's put in charge can't even recognize:
1) that the pod obviously malfunctioned and someone woke up and
2) that there is a person in the airlock without a suit!
Ugh, I hope that company gets sued to oblivion and goes bankrupt because they are totally incompetent and shouldn't be moving anyone around space. They didn't think they *might* get hit by an asteroid when their path takes them through an asteroid belt?

So Laurence Fishburne's character was just there to give them the master key and then die, huh?

Chris Pratt's character is going to die of all the cancer from being in the vent tunnel, right? Also, how is he not blind? I guess I don't know how nuclear reactors in space work. Apparently they are much less dangerous than the ones we have here on Earth.

Getting past the super creepy way their relationship started, once he discovered she could be put back to sleep, there's no reason she had to do it then. She could have hung around a few years until he was going to die of cancer and then go.

Despite all of the above, I did enjoy the movie, even though I wish I would have been more of a psychological thriller than a love story. I didn't think Lawrence and Pratt could pull off a space movie with just them, but I was pleasantly surprised.
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:06 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


The thought that I had was he could have woken up like 50 people. Not lonely and better equipped to handle the problems that came, and not a gaslighty rapist. Or lean into your own premise and be like yeah, this woman is in danger, this guy is not ok.
posted by French Fry at 9:12 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


The trailer made it look like a space thriller -- like their pods had been sabotaged either on Earth or by the ship's AI, for reasons that tied into why they left Earth.

And then I kept waiting and waiting for the film to acknowledge that what Chris Pratt had done was creepy and stalker-y and NOT OKAY and when it finally looked like it was going to happen -- when Jennifer Lawrence is finally able to tell someone she's effectively been murdered -- poor Laurence Fishburne has to toss off that line about a drowning man so that Jennifer Lawrence can live happily ever after in her stolen life.

Also that company was suffering from White Star Lines-level delusions of unsinkability, unless of course everyone just thinks nothing ever goes wrong because the duration of the trip makes it impossible for outsiders to track anything.

That's the last time I watch a blockbuster without checking the reviews first.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 11:11 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Agreed. This was a horrible movie in so many ways, and the whole thing about trying to generate sympathy for the Chris Pratt character just made me want to puke. Also disturbing was how many plot points depended on Jennifer Lawrence shedding clothing. She has to go swimming, after all! Oh, and that darn dress - how will she *ever* get in that spacesuit? Not to mention that the handle was SO HOT she needed to take her top off to grasp it.

Ugh. Why would someone in her position agree to be in such a piece of junk?
posted by jasper411 at 11:29 AM on December 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


French Fry: You get the distinct impression that the filmmakers genuinely don't see the problem. Which is the real horror story.

I actually didn't get that impression at all. She beat him up and almost murdered him with the crowbar. You can make the case that they didn't make him suffer enough, or not buy that she chose to forgive him at all, or wish she'd just launched him out an airlock, but it's not like the filmmakers tried to gloss over the problem-- it was the entire premise of the movie. I actually thought Jennifer Lawrence did some fantastic acting with this aftermath, I'd argue some of her best since Winter's Bone.

jasper411: Also disturbing was how many plot points depended on Jennifer Lawrence shedding clothing. She has to go swimming

Of course this was partially getting Jennifer Lawrence in a swim suit, but I'll just point out that there was supposed to be a thematic thing between Fishburne saying Pratt was a drowning man and her almost drowning due to the loss of gravity.
posted by bluecore at 5:33 PM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Fair point bluecore, my problem is this: He did a really monstrous thing and she reacted appropriately, at first. But the filmmakers seem to think that's "fair". Like this sort of fox news "two sides to every story" version of fairness.

I was so bothered by this because they aren't equivalent actions at all. A woman being unwittingly coerced into a sexual relationship and kidnapped (essentially forever) is not equal to that same woman getting really mad at you and hitting you. If she had killed him it still wouldn't have evened the scales morally.

The retaliation does not absolve the original crime.

Which I felt the filmmakers seem to think it does; given how glossed over things get once the Gus narrative and disaster start and ultimately her choices at the end of the movie.
posted by French Fry at 6:12 AM on December 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


OK, I'm never going to see this because, having learned about the big plot point, I'm so incredibly creeped out by it. However, I'm really curious after reading the wikipedia synopsis* (SPOILERS):

Does she, at the end of the movie, actually decide to stay with him instead of saving her own life by going into the pod? Is that actually right? Is her decision explained?

*I know the correct answer to "I'm confused by the wikipedia entry" is "just watch the damn movie" but I just can't bring myself to, especially when I still haven't seen Moonlight or Moana or Manchester by the Sea, so hopefully one of you will be nice enough to humor me.
posted by lunasol at 10:22 PM on December 30, 2016


Once Jim (Pratt) realizes that with Gus' (Fishburne's) ID badge and codes they can use the magic Doctor box to reattain a state of suspended animation, he encourages Aurora (Lawrence) to wait out the rest of the voyage that way. She says something like "I couldn't make it here all by myself without you" which "makes sense" (in movie love logic) because we've just seen Aurora go to heroic lengths to save Jim. My read was one third she realizes she still loves him, one third can't abandon another human to a life of solitude, and one third when life offers lemons, make lemonade. Immediately we cut to ~88 years later when the ship lands and we hear Lawrence, in voiceover, giving a reading from her book that is a more poetic version of lemons->lemonade.

I think that what the couple should have done is take turns in the pod, overlapping at regular intervals, in a sort of long distance relationspaceship. That way they would have both been in their 70s (if Jim spent a little more time than Aurora) when they landed and could see the destination together.

Better ending idea: Jim should die (and by the way, he should have used his heat shield to prop open the reactor door) because his survival is ludicrous. Then we have Aurora living alone, talking to the robot bartender, stalkerly reading up on her fellow passengers and ultimately crushing on one of them, struggling with the ethical dilemma... and then we see her with a screwdriver getting ready to open a guy's pod. Fade to black. I like the symmetry, and the rumination on human nature.
posted by carmicha at 5:56 AM on December 31, 2016 [14 favorites]


Another irritation: no way there was only one magic doctor box on that ship for 5000 people, not to mention that they keep telling you about the vast storerooms and duplicate/backup equipment.
posted by carmicha at 6:01 AM on December 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


Correction to my first comment: it's 88 years later when the others awaken, not 88 years later when the ship lands.
posted by carmicha at 6:07 AM on December 31, 2016


lunasol: Does she, at the end of the movie, actually decide to stay with him instead of saving her own life by going into the pod? Is that actually right? Is her decision explained?

She does, and her decision is not explained in any way that made sense to me. The best explanation I've seen is that a previous version of the script left the ship dead in space, that they live out their lives knowing they'll never reach the colony world, and that the final version just couldn't be bothered to explain why Lawrence would make the same decision on a repaired ship.

carmicha's ending would have been the best way to go, though.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 11:25 AM on December 31, 2016


Thank you, carmicha and fish! That spared me two hours of annoyed watching.
posted by lunasol at 5:03 PM on December 31, 2016


This movie reinforced the most terrible gender messages that Hollywood always seems to love. But what was so frustrating was how easily it could have been fixed into a really fine film.

1. Make the Chris Pratt Character (CPC) into a woman. CPC wakes up Jennifer Lawrence (JLC) for friendship and companionship and sanity, not for sexytimes. But JLC's rightfully still mad when she finds out.
2. CPC dies in the venting (without all the cliche end-of-the-rope rescue, please). Then JLC has to make the decision whether to wake someone up or go mad being alone. (I see carmicha got there, too.)

A sci fi film where 90% of it is two women talking to each other (not about a man)? Instant winner. Throw in the ethical quandries and the action setpieces, and Lawrence Fishburn. That's the movie we deserved.
posted by rikschell at 5:30 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed this movie, but I am weird.

My boyfriend, however, did not appreciate my one critique. I thought the movie would have been better if Aurora was gay. I find this idea extra entertaining because it would be a wonderful lesson in not assuming that a woman will automatically fall in love with the only man available.

I do wish she hadn't fallen back in love with him after she learned the truth. I'm am glad they don't appear to have procreated, though.

I was kind of happy that she was the.. aggressor for sex. We need more women initiating sex in the blockbuster movies. Yes - the circumstances should have been different. I think that Aurora being the driving factor for sex and passion is the only thing that made me not nauseated over Jim's actions. He didn't actively pressure her for either the relationship or sex. Not saying I'm ok with what he did, but I'm saying it was handled with a deft hand and I appreciate it for what it was. I guess what I'm saying is that it could have been a lot worse.

Also, I miss chubby JL.
posted by INFJ at 12:01 PM on January 3


I was bummed out by the Shining stuff, Larry and Simon's characters. Especially Larry, who should never be killed off in a movie immediately after delivering a critical plot point.

I was also bummed out by the neccessity argument intended to legitimize the protagonists' love. I am an adoptee. Intensity of desire leading to a marketplace which meets that need is really, like, no shit, not a successful moral argument.
posted by mwhybark at 11:05 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I give this movie no stars. It's a rapists fantasy. It belongs in the same box as hostage takers proof of life videos. Fuck this movie.
posted by adept256 at 8:47 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


How was she going to stay on Homestead II for one year, get re-hibernated and then go back to earth if there was no way to be put back into hibernation?
posted by unliteral at 4:02 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Just saw this on Blu-Ray. It's not that there is no way to be put back into hibernation at all, it's that there was no way to be put back into hibernation available on the ship (until they got the autodoc override.)

Now, since everything that will be at the colony in the first couple years must, by necessity, be on the ship.... well.

I am conflicted about the premise. On the one hand, LF is absolutely correct that a drowning person will drag anyone nearby under with them. Not because they are bad or evil but because they are drowning. And I think a great many people would choose to wake someone else up not, again, because they are bad or evil but because long-term isolation drives you mad. That could be a very interesting moral quagmire.

But the pervy layer on top of it was.... problematic at best.
posted by Justinian at 12:18 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Another irritation: no way there was only one magic doctor box on that ship for 5000 people, not to mention that they keep telling you about the vast storerooms and duplicate/backup equipment.

I dunno, it was only supposed to have to be a magic doctor box for 5000 people for like 4 weeks. And it apparently could be a magic doctor in like 5 minutes flat, even if the patient is dead, so what, you expect them to need more? Like more than 250 people dying every day, say?
posted by Kyol at 8:19 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


My irritations, aside from the problematic relationship (and oooh boy, was it):

* Why was the bartender the only Android, while the rest of the servicebots were just Box selling protein from the sea?

* Why did the ship's attendant have midflight alerts for a crew and passenger complement that would have been 100% in suspended animation?

* And once LF's character diagnosed CP's tube's failure... Wait, the ship could've corrected all those other failures, but not something simple like that? Really?

* How are the tubes so reliable if a simple failure can knock them out? (and honestly, how does anyone know? The company would be very inclined to hush that sort of thing up.)

* How does this 120 year distant economy work out for the underwriting company? Great, they take 20% of the passengers' income for the rest of their lives, are they shipping that back in precious metals, or setting up fiefdoms all over the galaxy? I mean, I don't expect a popular movie to try to take up what cstross spent a few hundred pages doing in Neptune's Brood, but... It's interstellar distances, guys.

* And how does that work out for JL's character, then? 40% of her Earthly income when she returns? Or did she (somehow) buy two Gold Passenger tickets outright?

* How was it that CP's character could at at those frou frou restaurants while the cafeteria dispenser only gave him Block Of Food for breakfast?

* And apparently the auto diagnostic and repair systems are pretty frickin' incredible (see what they're doing to the reactor glass at the very end), but they otherwise just leave a gaping hole in a compartment and a chunk of control logic missing in a computer? I assume a Box maƮtre d' couldn't come down with a spare module and slap it in, huh. (yeah, yeah, OK, then there's "no tension" or "reason to make a movie" or whatever.)
posted by Kyol at 8:44 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


And how does that work out for JL's character, then? 40% of her Earthly income when she returns? Or did she (somehow) buy two Gold Passenger tickets outright?

I can't fix all of your problems with the film, and wouldn't try, but on this one, I took it to mean that CP's deal, as someone who didn't buy his ticket like JL did, was that he owed 20% of his income. He got to go because he was in a needed profession, and rather than pay, he entered into this indentured servitude arrangement where he'd continue to owe a percentage of his earnings to the corporation. JL, being a woman of means, bought her ticket(s), free and clear.
posted by terilou at 1:07 PM on March 27


Okay I saw this thing.

Even without the awfulness of Jim waking up Aurora, there were other maddening things about their dippy romance. Like when he literally creeps up on her in the cafeteria, or when he uses the ship PA to force her to listen to him when she clearly does not want to talk to him. At no point does he ever learn anything, they don't ever actually work anything out and the peril is the ultimate copout.

It's definitely one of the dumbest romance stories I've ever experienced. It was so bad and regressive it felt like it came out of the Christian movie world.

The spectacle of Chris Pratt playing a kind of shitty dude destined for romance with a woman whom the story treats like shit reminded me a little of Jurassic World. However, whereas Passengers sort of doesn't understand J-Lawr's character, as if she's a magical angel, I think Jurassic World actually fucking hates Bryce Dallas Howard's character.
posted by fleacircus at 10:19 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Nerdwriter rearranged the film to bring Pratt's creepiness into proper focus. Most of his observations have already been posted here, but it was nice to get a re-edited breakdown of how easily it could have been better.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 7:20 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I really want to see THAT movie now.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:15 PM on April 20


No explanation of why, after a year or whatever, the android bartender suddenly decides to spill the beans. Just another malfunction, I guess.

So, so disappointing... I was on the edge of my seat for a while there, thinking it was going to turn into a profound statement about betrayal and the human condition. It could have even taken a theological tack and explained why God or the gods created humankind.
posted by XMLicious at 11:21 PM on May 25


No explanation of why, after a year or whatever, the android bartender suddenly decides to spill the beans. Just another malfunction, I guess.

Nah, I thought that was pretty direct - CP's character tells the bartender that he has _no secrets_ from JL's character (gosh we're lovey dovey!), and the bartender takes that to mean that he doesn't need to treat all the pre-JL wakeup information as privileged any more aaaaand drama.
posted by Kyol at 9:25 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


And slashfilm (I didn't see it linked upthread) discusses some of the original endings and alternate endings, basically that the movie sort of thudded up against a "what now?" in the third act and they decided to go all action movie to resolve it, dropping the (interesting, squicky) issues raised in the first two acts.
posted by Kyol at 9:43 AM on June 26


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