Occasionally, there comes a film that is not at all what the trailers described. It’s not often that you watch a trailer and then see the movie and leave the theater thinking, “The trailers sure did mislead me.” There’s moments in trailers that don’t make the final cut of the film, sure. That happens all the time. A film that goes a completely different route than what the trailers were marketing however is something else entirely. So let’s dive in and take a look at “Passengers” and what it’s actually about in this box office review…
The trailer leads us to believe that both Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) were woken up suddenly for reasons to be explained later in the film. Nope. A big fat resounding nope. This is not what the movie is at all. Pratt’s character is woken up because the ship traveling to another planet is struck by too many asteroids for the defenses to withstand and one breaks through causing almost irreparable damage to the ship, thus waking up Pratt. He spends roughly a year by himself enjoying all the ship has to offer to someone with his level of access but eventually goes mental from isolation (ala Cast Away; however, instead of Wilson we are treated to “Arthur” a robotic bartender, played by Michael Sheen). After reconsidering suicide Pratt discovers Aurora (Lawrence) and manually hacks her sleeping pod so she is forced to wake up 88 to 90 years early thus giving her a life sentence on the ship, never to make it to the planet. This is pretty much the plot. The film carries on from here but this gives you the basic concept.
The performances or Pratt, Lawrence and Sheen are exactly what we’d expect. They were fantastic. We see the Pratt/Lawrence story of blossoming love and friendship. We see the divide when Lawrence finds out the truth about why she was woken up. We see the reckoning. It’s all there and it’s written wonderfully. Pratt is perceived to be a self centered loner who is eventually confronted with a challenge that forces him to act valiantly to prove his love for Aurora and to show he’s willing to sacrifice it all for everyone aboard the ship. This contrasts with who his character has been the majority of the film. Lawrence is confronted with her own wish to end his life after she discovers that he has sentenced her to a life aboard the ship and all her goals and aspirations will not come to fruition. She is given the opportunity to fulfill her earlier wish and this puts her character into conflict. It’s brilliant. All in all, the moral of this story could be, “Be careful what you wish for.” It could also be, “While love causes us to act mad, it’s love that knows that our actions are just because all is fair in love and war.” The heart never lies. It might confuse and confound us but it never lies and that is part of this story.
“Passengers” is in theaters now! I definitely recommend a big screen viewing. The story is good. The acting is great. The visuals are fantastic. This is a science fiction film but it relies heavily on story and character development move than obvious special effects. Obviously, the ship, outer space and more are special effects. These are all rather subtle and believable for the story in that it’s about people, connection and sacrifice and not space battles, laser guns and aliens terrorizing the crew. I recommend the matinee ticket price but it’s also a good movie for a date. I recommend you see it on the big screen.
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