By Anna Wells (Milton Keynes)
Reading a trashy magazine article about Jennifer Lawrence’s supposed ‘affair’ with Chris Pratt made me finally realise what the film Passengers was really about. The posters had suggested something dark and twisty with a slight note of foreboding. However, after sitting through the few hours in the dark and pondering afterwards, I realised I just had watched a film about a love story set in space.
There are many films where love blossoms in the cold realms of outer space and I have no problem with that. However, I was expecting a little more than just two more than average-looking people running around a very clean ship making eyes at each other.
The word that kept popping into my head throughout the film was ‘gratuitous’. Oh look, Jennifer Lawrence has managed to pack her swimming costume that has lots of holes in the right places! Surely not- Chris Pratt has arranged a date in a spacesuit but Lawrence is wearing a dress! Guess she will just have to take it off so everyone feels more comfortable…really?! As a woman, it did make me feel a little uncomfortable; I can’t claim to be on Jennifer Lawrence’s Christmas card list but I had the impression she had some feminist get up and go in her.
One of the main premises of Passengers is the journey to a new land and the promise of a new start. Quite literally, it didn’t seem there like there would even be a toilet block when they landed. Plus what would the Wi-Fi password be? In my opinion, the film missed a trick here; why is a mysterious shady company sending members of the public off to a new planet when we already have a pretty decent one that has multiple Wi-Fi hotspots? Was this the first attempt from the film world to make a comment on the recent American election results? Probably not, but a bit of background would have been appreciated.
Passengers was going along its merry way, with the main protagonists creating sweet love in space, when the moral dilemma hits hard. Without giving away a massive spoiler, this is something you would really think twice about before shacking up with the guy you’ve met whilst wandering around a deserted spaceship. For Jennifer Lawrence, this is probably her best sequence of acting, showing through her despair the ultimate betrayal her character has been put through.
However, instead of running with this story arc, the film decides to go with the big action sequence instead and introduce high temperatures and Laurence Fishburne. Massively under-used, Fishburne’s character floats in and out of the scene. His only real use seems to be his wristband-with-privileges, a great resource if you were in a floating leisure centre in space.
Passengers was a thoroughly decent film, that it was great for a Sunday evening date-night. However I left with more questions than answers, and a slight frustration that the film wasn’t brave enough to go down a darker avenue when the moral conundrum arose. Lawrence and Pratt do their star status no harm, and their heart-throb status even less harm, but I feel they could easily have carried a film that just dared to be a little bit more adventurous.