2016 #3 – Passengers (dir. Morten Tyldum)

“If you live an ordinary life, all you’ll have are ordinary stories.” – Jennifer Lawrence as Aurora Lane in Passengers.

Passengers (2016)
Director:
Morten Tyldum
Starring: jenniferlawrencechrisprattmichaelsheenlaurencefishburneandygarcia
Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia
Written By: Jon Spaihts
Running Time: 116 minutes (1 hour, 56 minutes)
Genre(s): Adventure, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller

Frustrating.

If there is one word to describe Passengers, it is frustrating. First, let’s start with everything this movie had going for it. The movie is a science fiction, guaranteed blockbuster hit starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt (two of the most charismatic in Hollywood) with a large budget and a plot that is actually interesting.

The movie tells the story of Jim Preston (Chris Pratt). Jim is a mechanical engineer who, along with over 5,000 other passengers, is taking a 120-year journey to the new planet, Homestead II. Trouble arises when he is forced to wake up early, leading to troubling ethical decisions, unexpected romance and a whole lot of trouble.

It needs to be said – and yes, there will be some spoilers starting NOW – the fact that Jim is the reason journalist Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) wakes up isn’t entirely the issue here. Is it troublesome? No doubt about it. But after spending over a year in complete isolation, it should not be surprising that someone such as Jim would be driven to commit such an action, even if it is not the right one.

The problem is the way director Morten Tyldum and writer Jon Spaihts treat this dilemma. Passengers had the potential to be a gripping, sci-fi thriller that could have dealt with the ethical conundrums that can occur when one is forced to face deep, internal desperation. It could have been a brilliant character study while still keeping the audience on the edge of its seat. Instead, it takes the easy way out time and time again.

Trouble arises on the ship? No worries, Laurence Fishburne can randomly wake up only to die in a ridiculous manner once he is no longer needed. Jim decides to permanently ruin Aurora’s life because he is desperate for some type of human interaction? No worries, just have him open the vent hatch and Aurora will miraculously forget everything he has done and decide to throw away her life to live with him in isolation. There is no punishment for Jim. There is no acknowledgement that what he did is wrong because the script refuses to dig beneath the surface of the actions of the characters involved.

As a result, while Passengers is entertaining at times, it ends up feeling pretty insulting. Lawrence and Pratt, a pair that can hopefully act together again in a film worth their talents, are good in all their scenes but ultimately wasted. Sheen is entertaining, while Fishburne’s entire character is ridiculous. And apparently Andy Garcia stars in this? Who knew? 2.5/5.


2016 Personal Ballot (updates are in bold)

Best Picture
1.
Hell or High Water
2.
Loving
3.
4.
5.

Best Director
1.
David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
2.
Jeff Nichols – Loving
3.
4.
5.

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1. Joel Edgerton – Loving
2. Chris Pine – Hell or High Water
3.
4.
5.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Ruth Negga – Loving
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
2. Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
3.
4.
5.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Original Screenplay
1. Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Loving – Jeff Nichols
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Film Ensemble
1. Hell or High Water – Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Katy Mixon, Margaret Bowman
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Original Score
1. Loving – David Wingo
2. Hell or High Water – Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
3.
4.
5.

Best Production Design
1. Passengers – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Cinematography
1. Hell or High Water – Giles Nuttgens
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Costume Design
1. Loving – Erin Benach
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Film Editing
1. Hell or High Water – Jake Roberts
2.
3.
4.
5.

Best Visual Effects
1. Passengers – Pete Dionne, Sebastien Gourdal, Erik Nordby
2.
Hell or High Water – Jeremy Cox, Scott Hastings, Daniel Holt, Michael Prawitz
3.
4.
5.


2016 Ranked (updates are in bold)
1.
Hell or High Water (dir. David Mackenzie)
2.
Loving (dir. Jeff Nichols)
3. Passengers (dir. Morten Tyldum)

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