Passengers

passengers_ver2Director: Morten Tyldum. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Lawrence Fishburne. USA, 2016. IMDB: 7.0. My rating: 1.5/4.

– Jim, these are  not robot questions.
(Arthur, the robot-barman)

– We were woken too soon… Ninety years too soon!
– We have too go back to sleep!
– We can’t!
(typical dramatic dialogue between main characters)

A second movie in Hollywood by a Norwegian director Morten Tylden, who made great and brutal “Headhunters” (which I highly recommend, a thriller with really Norwegian spirit) and his most famous film “Imitation Game”, both received well on various festivals and public. Tyldum mentioned few years ago that he has been dreaming to make a sci-fi movie for a long time. Did he manage to do it well? Barely.

20170216_080103It’s not a complete disaster though, but the movie missed the main point. This was supposed to be an intimate story of love, relationship and solitude, but it expresses these things with a grace of an young teenager in love, who barely understands what he just discovered. He may look cute, but c’mon, to tell a story that complex you need far more maturity and sensibility. Probably only thanks to the teenager audience that the movie got 7.0 on IMDB and had the box office of $240 millions with $110-million budget?

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The plot is rather simple. A spaceship is carrying thousands of people to a faraway colony planet. Two passengers are awaked 90 years before the arrival to the destination.

I cannot stop having the idea of hop-off hop-on tourist bus with this movie. It feels exactly like you are dragged in a middle of some famous tourist location with obligatory touristy things to see, concluding with a final stroll on the main shopping street with its fancy and shiny stores. It may feel fun when you are doing it, but when thinking about it afterwards it often makes you feel… empty, like some sincerity and authenticity are missing.

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“Passengers” is simply not gracious and thoughtful enough, it’s uses the same straightforward approach to almost everything with many cliches. Cannot open the door? No problem, let’s grow a beard, wait one year and look more like a true hipster. 20170216_075938Feel lonely? No problem, let’s wake up that pretty girl. Still want to open the door? Call Morpheus! (Sorry Lawrence Fishburne, we all know you can play great roles, but why would somebody put you in a plot to solve other people’s problems Deus Ex Machina and then die in 10 minutes?) Need to repair the ship engine? OK, find some big piece of metal junk and then just attach somewhere in the huge engine room (easy, especially for somebody who has never repaired giant space ships before). And you could go endless with things like that.

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The movie lacks intimacy. It’s as graceful and intimate as Transformers (any part). Chris Pratt is great in entertaining roles and I really adore Guardians of the Galaxy, but you cannot do an intimate story with the Hollywood blockbuster approach! Finally, there is n20170216_075920ot much of a blockbuster since nothing could ever happen with a plot of this kind (if only you don’t consider a fighting scenes between Pratt and Lawrence as a sign of blockbuster). Yes, the design of the ship is effective (I bet it is with a $ 110 million budget!), but it’s gray and sterile. Think Tarkovski’s “Solaris”, or even recent “Gravity” or “Moon”. Sam Rockwell didn’t even need a girl to make it intimate. But it seems that Pratt in most movies used same straightforward approach of a funny20170216_075558 simple guy. At least he was not as obnoxious and pretentious as the character of Jennifer Lawrence. Supposedly the main intentions to highlight some her body parts more than others plus put tight clothes in various scenes. Wasn’t there any other solution to show grace and intimacy?

Now, when I look back to Headhunters (which was great), a basically I notice that a similar kind of approach was used. But that was a different movie, raw, nervous, straightforward, violent and punishing.

Worth watching? A shiny hollow Christmas sci-fi for teenagers. So no, not really – there are 20170216_075647much better ways of spending the evening. I actually expected this movie quiet a lot. Overall it’s not that horrible, and you can still enjoy it, if you don’t reflect too much upon the story and everything. There are two bright spots, actually. Michael Sheen with his barman-robotic wisdom “Jim, these are not robot questions” and the awesome swimming pool scene. As for the rest…of course, the space and all the special effects are pretty cool ($ 110 millions! $ 110 millions), but here they are just a flashy sterile decoration and not a means for something bigger like they were supposed to be. It’s really a pity though.

1.5/4

2 thoughts on “Passengers

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