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Now, having seen the movie I can understand it's mixed reviews. That said, in spite of a couple of plot issues and an end scene that was ill conceived, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would give it three and a half to four stars. My wife, OTOH, did not like certain aspects of the film and would probably give it two to two and a half stars. In a very real sense, we're both right, and so are the mix of reviews.
The basic problem is one of an underlying theme of gender conflict that can be seen on one level as an achieved male fantasy and on another as cruelty and abuse. For men, this film is an accessible romanctic story ...without the primary focus being sexual lust... about survival and love that evolves between two characters brought together by fate. It's built around a strong female lead who in many ways is equal or superior to her male counterpart, but who is unaware of all the facts and misled into a relationship.
By random accident Aurora's sleeping image becomes his fantasy; her accessed background information, a video dating ap. Eventually, she becomes an obsession for his survival. Except through an extraordinary set of circumstances she would've always been beyond his reach, that is why this film is very much built upon a male fantasy. Societies conventions are cast aside as are any competiton for Aurora's affections.
In essence, the stranded male is cut adrift from all humanity, motivated by a choice, either eternal solitude, suicide or pulling another passenger into his lonely world. Eventually, he justifies his deceptions as a means to survive and maintain his sanity. Like Tom Hank's "Wilson" Aurora becomes his lifeline, but with a sexual component of Adam selecting his own Eve, and thereby he becomes a stalker by proxy, selecting a victim who has no choice in the matter.
For women, at it's core, this film may come across as a film where Aurora has her life and promise of a rewarding future stolen from her by a self-serving decision of her romantic compatriot. In the end, for many women this act of subterfuge and betrayal is irredeemable. The fact that her partner on this voyage is driven by misfortune to a lifetime of seclusion doesn't excuse his actions in spite of the ship's peril (which ultimately becomes a secondary plot point to set things in motion). In an odd twisted way both conflicting perceptions ...male & female... are entirely accurate.
Indeed, the subtext of Passengers is at it's core a male fantasy, but it isn't a terrible movie by any means. It is the kind of movie that encourages discussions on sexual perspectives. Nevertheless, as well done and genuinely romantic as Passengers intent may be, it just might be the worst date movie ever.
So, that's why this film is both a hit and a miss. It may get elected, but not by a majority vote.
Edits: 12/30/16Follow Ups:
Audiophilander -Excellent review - thank you (nt)
...the previews made it look like a sci-fi action movie.
Then reading about it I find it's more of a creepy love story where Pratt stalks Lawrence and then wakes her up so he isn't alone.
I can see why the critics panned it.
Sometimes a movie is just a movie.
...hated Natalie Portman's "Jackie" and put it in his 10 Worst of the Year where many other critics put it in their Top 10.
I like to read his reviews but certainly don't agree with them all.
The 1975 wonderful Antonioni.
Just be thankful he didn't step back into the leater pants... and post a photo. :-)
The finest faux leather pants that I have seen. Patrick adored them.
You are bad. :)
You guys are tough critics.
Have to admit those leather trousers are a tighter fit these days, but just for old times sake... enjoy the nostalgia.
BTW, thanks for mentioning old photos, Victor. It reminded me that my Blu-Ray copy of Abel Gance's Napoleon (BCI, Brownlow restoration with Carl Davis score) is due to arrive soon. ;O)
I don't know if I am ready for another Napoleon spin, have to see what they have done with it. The whole ides of such BD sounds strange - like Caruso at 24 bits. If they massage it too much it might look fake.
So sorry to hear about Patrick. I know he would have gotten a chuckle out of that quick flashback to AP's days with the leather pants! :-)
Well, it is, but it isn't, that makes it a conundrum of sorts.
Do I think it's worthwhile? ...Yes, with a couple of caveats.
There is a a Deux ex Machina presented in the middle by the arrival of a doomed character that is only in the movie for about 15 minutes. He's there to provide something needed that neither of the leads seem capable of doing on their own. It just comes across as awkward introducing this one character to solve a couple of problems and it works against the pacing.
The other caveat is the final scene of the ship approaching it's destination and waking of the hibernating passengers and crew. I won't give it away, but I think the final shot was an ill conceived choice intended as religious allegory. In the end it just seems hokey, not to mention defying the scientific plausibility. If I'd written the ending, it would've been entirely different, but I won't put it in this post because that would provide another spoiler to the storyline relative to what had gone before. For those who've seen Passengers though, I think my proposed ending would've been more logical and a poignant conclusion without heavy-handed symbolism.
...if not for her presence.
I just can't stand that face.
one of Caintuck's finest.
I saw her interview. I could not switch channels, and I could not walk away, so I listened to it.
If you saw her in American Hustle, as a Jersey wife, you might have a better opinion of her. That shotgun speed, quick mouthed, tough broad, nonstop banter of a Jersey gangster moll was played off to perfection. I don't think many could do that so well. That much script delivered in such fashion must have been tough. She got an Oscar nom for that role, and IMO, should have won.
It didn't live up to the potential of transcending a "teenager" movie. It's shallow vignettes exhibiting what encompasses a deep relationship played like a "Tinder" date on a spaceship. That said, I was dreading the looming truth Chris Pratt was hiding and I found the premise original and thought provoking. Jennifer Lawrence, as usual was terrific.
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