Passengers is not just a space survival story. It’s also a morality discussion on man’s inborn need for companionship.
During a 120-year space journey to colonise the planet Homestead II, mechanic engineer Jim Preston prematurely awakes from hibernation no thanks to a system malfunction. He also discovers to his horror that he has no way to return to hibernation, and will obviously not survive the remaining 90 years of the journey. After a year of isolation, Jim is severely despondent and bordering on suicide. He then notices fellow passenger Aurora Lane. A strange attraction then leads him to consider whether to wake Lane up to be his companion.
I confess. I looked forward to Passengers purely because of Jennifer Lawrence. I’m a fan boy, a big one. Whatever some critics might say, I consider Jennifer one of the most talented and gorgeous actresses of our times.
And as expected, she doesn’t disappoint. SHE DELIVERS, albeit in a typecast way. Like Katniss, like Mystique, she effortlessly projects the role of the modern and independent female, with several well-timed displays of inner vulnerability. Chris Pratt himself was great too, in his usual Star-Lord suave goofy style. What I’m saying here is, the script completely panders to popular audience perceptions of these two A-listers. There are no surprises, but it’s difficult not to be charmed by their smooth portrayals.
As for the story, I must say I was positive about that certain key-event. It surprised and it intrigued. Overall, I felt it also injected a sophisticated humanism into what was otherwise a straightforward space drama.
Now, I know a lot of critics slammed the outcome of this situation, and to an extent, I agree with their complaints. However, it also feels to me that these critics largely ignored the “reality” of the situation. In similar shoes as either one of the two leads, what would they have done? If they were Aurora, would they destroy the entire ship in vengeance? Commit to 90s years of solitary hatred in firm maintenance of their conclusions?
I seriously doubt so.
PS: Not flaunting physics knowledge, for which I have little! I’ve often read that time slows upon a vessel hitting light speed. In Ender’s Game, that was how Mazer Rackham stayed alive beyond typical human lifespan. Given the Avalon was flying at sub-light speed, wouldn’t this mean 90 years would be but … You’d know what I mean after watching the movie.
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