DIRECTOR: Morten Tyldum LEAD CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy García WRITER: Jon Spaihts PRODUCERS: Neal H. Moritz, Stephen Hamel, Michael Maher, Ori Marmur FILM EDITOR: Maryann Brandon GENRE: Science Fiction Romance CINEMATOGRAPHY: Rodrigo Prieto MUSIC: Thomas Newman PRODUCTON COMPANIES: LStar Capital, Village Roadshow Pictures, Wanda Pictures, Original Film, Company Films, Start Motion Pictures DISTRIBUTORS: Columbia Pictures COUNTRY: U. S. A. LANGUAGE: English RUNNING TIME: 1 hour & 56 minutes
Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2.5
Cinema Rating: A14
MTRCB Rating: PG
Engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is onboard spaceship Starship Avilon with 5,000 passengers in suspended animation as they are on a 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet called Homestead. As the ship passes through an asteroid field, it encounters malfunction and one of its hibernation pods opens prematurely, waking up Jim from hibernation 90 years early. Rattled, Jim tries everything he can to put himself back to sleep inside his hibernation pod, but to no avail. He is faced with the fact that he will forever be stranded in space alone and he will not make it to Homestead. Instead, he will die in the ship from either loneliness or old age. Then he catches sight of fellow passenger, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) who is still in her hibernation pod. He investigates Aurora’s background and he becomes fascinated by her. He finds out he can wake her up from hibernation but doing so would put her on the same fate as his. But then, he cannot stand the aloneness in the spaceship. He has to make a tough decision.
Passengers tackles a premise that is very far from human possibility. Although a sci-fi, it understandably tries to justify the science behind the fantasy. But then again, the challenge lies on its effectiveness to suspend disbelief of the audience – but the even more problematic humanness of the entire storyline and uninspired mounting of emotional thread fail to make the picture at the very least, believable. The film utterly fails to maximize the grand setting and elaborate CGIs with its thinly layered story arcs. Lawrence and Pratt make a great pair though and both look great on screen given the limitations of the material. The real problem of the film is its structure itself. It apparently lacks the heart in what it really wants to say about human nature in general. The motivations and actions of the characters seem to be no more than functional and the reconciliations appear to be no more than obligatory. In the end, the audience feels nothing for the characters, even for all its passengers.
No man is an island. The film works on this adage as justification for its character’s decisions. However, looking at his motivations on the moral context, it is indeed no doubt that his action is an ultimate act of selfishness without regard to the well-being of the other. While growing and dying old alone seem to be a tragedy in itself, humans have the capacity to accept and endure suffering if that would be his or her fate. Altering one’s fate in an artificial and inhuman way is definitely a grave offense against the other person. Even the romance in the Passengers seems to be manipulated and staged for there is deception from the very beginning. Perhaps the film tries to justify Jim’s acts of purifying his intentions but even the film’s resolution does not give enough justice at all. Does the end to love really justify the means to deceive? Was there really love to begin with? Or is it just a product of fear of growing and dying old alone? The film in its entirety plays God. They are all manipulating human possibilities without regard for the divine. It seems God is absent in the outer space. The characters’ heroic acts for the greater good are commendable as well as their effort to bring life and nature life in the spacecraft is amazing. Forgiveness comes sooner because of love. But then, love is being confused with lust in the film and there was no regard for procreation which adds more confusion with the film’s real intention. But if there is one apparent moral the film depicts it would be the fact that humans are not perfect. Only God is. And when humans start to believe that they are perfect and can even create and manipulate new life through their own effort and intelligence that would be the start of their own downfall. For some graphic nudity and sexual content, CINEMA deems the film may be appropriate only to audiences aged 14 and above.