By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)
Passengers: An Original Narrative That Lacks Substance
Passengers is one of that last big budget films to end the year of 2016. This film is directed by Morten Tyldum and stars Christopher Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Passengers tells the story of a routine journey through space to a new home. Two passengers are woken up 90 years to early, due to multiple malfunctions that occur on the ship that cause our two main characters, Jim Preston and Aurora Lane, to form an interesting relationship between each other. This drives them to a realization where even though they have everything they could ever want on this luxurious ship, they end up feeling alone and falling for each other.
After failing to deny their attraction to one another, they learn about the grave danger encompassing the ship. This forces them to work together to save the lives of the other 5000 passengers on the ship who are oblivious to the danger they are in. This is a film that has very original ideas and entertaining moments, but gets bogged down by its lack of substance and character development.
I was kind of excited for this film. The trailers intrigued me, and gave me this hope for an original sci-fi drama/thriller. And, this definitely isn’t a bad film by any means. This film has flaws that really bog it down, but it’s also filled with highly entertaining character interactions and fun sequences that looked awesome. Let’s talk about the things I liked about this film. First is the fact that this film has a very original idea. It really drives this film, and provides the audience with some interesting relatable dilemmas with its characters. The dilemma that drives Chris Pratt’s character makes the audience question their own moralities and motivations. The ship has a very original design, and the score of this film is awesome. It so uplifting and original, even if it’s heavily relied upon to create a distraction from its structure.
The performances were good, Chris Pratt was entertaining as well as Jennifer Lawrence. They did a great job of combining entertainment with sex appeal and emotionally driven dialogue. The visual effects are also done very, very well. This is some of the best use of CGI I have seen this year. Where this film loses me is its script, pacing, and structure. The script is very messy, in the way it specifically tries to make these characters relatable. As well as how it tries to make the plot cohesive. The characters are not given much development involving there past and there motivations for who they are, or even the reason of why they have boarded this ship to go to Homestead 2. Which is given but not explored. The structure of the film is very poorly done in my opinion.
The film begins with a very intriguing plot driven question. This question is wrestled with by a character and then answered in the first act. This plot reveal would have been better suited for the third act and not the first. It ruins the films passion and tone. It creates this lack of urgency and motivation for the audience to keep watching. The pacing is done poorly as well, specifically in how it paces the character driven scenes as in comparison to its action scenes. The action scenes are very quick and paced with this fast editing. To a point where it feels as if the sequence lasted a matter of seconds. While instead the character driven scenes feel long and dragged with slow encompassing shots. This creates this conflict in the film where it is as if this film was directed by two people. One for the dialogue and drama, and another person for the action. Making this film feel choppy, rushed, and incoherent.
Passengers is a very appealing film to the eye, but creates confusion and a lack of fulfillment with its structure and script. It’s a film that creates a great distinction between critics and audiences. This film has a lot of good things but its flaws bog it down to a point of confusion and unfulfillment. Passengers is a film that requires restructuring and I’m going to give it a C. What did you think of passengers? Are the critics being too hard on it? What’s your favor yes as Sci-fi film? Let me know down in the comments below and as always have a blessed day.