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 Posted: 2016-12-22 03:35 am
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Shale Stone

 

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Passengers
Movie Blurb By Shale
December 21, 2016
 
THE BEST SCI-FI SPACE MOVIE OF 2016

 
OK, I never professed to being a movie reviewer, just write these blurbs from my own perspective, often disagreeing with the aggregate critics' opinions.  Today was such a day. 
 
While watching this movie, I was quite overwhelmed with how good it was.  I had seen the trailers and of course this was a must-see movie about two passengers on a 120-year interstellar flight waking from hibernation some 90 years short of their destination and unable to get back to sleep.  But, besides being the futuristic action flick with a major dilemma to overcome, there was a real character driven story unfolding that amazed me. 
 
So, after the movie, the first thing I did when I got home was to check Rotten Tomatoes to see what was the aggregate consensus, expecting it to be in the 90%.  It only got a 29% and only 65% or audiences liked it.  WTF?  How could I be so mistaken about a movie.  Their consensus was that it had "a fatally flawed story."  The story was the main thing that made me love this movie. 
 
Anyhow, I looked thru all the bad reviews and found a "Fresh" one by Chris Knight of the National Post who wrote in his first line: "How much (or how little) you enjoy Passengers may depend on what genre you’re expecting.   As a science-fiction story, it’s a clever, high-concept idea ..."  OK, so Chris and I saw the same movie - good to know I did not hallucinate the whole thing. 
 
Since I am of the two-thirds of ppl who liked this movie, I don't want to spoil it for anyone not yet seeing it. 
 
So, here is the TRAILER VERSION. 
 
The Starship Avalon is transporting 5K hibernating passengers to planet Homestead in another star system.  Since the journey is 120 years, the crew of a few hundred are also hibernating and the ship is on autopilot.  It hits an asteroid belt and the shields are working fine but we see one big one that hits and a momentary disturbance to the computers.  In a diagnostic check it is noted that one hibernation pod went offline.
 

Ship
 

That was mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt). 

Jim the Engineer



Later he is joined by Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) and they are the only two ppl awake aboard a ship with 5K sleeping passengers.  They resign to their fate and start getting into each other.  Their only other companion to pass the time on an empty cruise ship of vid & holografic games, movies, sports and an occasional walk in spacesuits on the outer decks is an android bartender named Arthur (Michael Sheen).

Spacesuit



Aurora & Jim Frisky on Table



BTW, just have to mention that Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are great together here, a really attractive couple and Chris has a cute butt (sorry, couldn't find any pix - yet)

Aurora & Jim In Bed
 

However, Jim keeps noticing little things going wrong and then they are joined by one crew member, Chief Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburne) who also comes out of hibernation because of the cascading ships systems. I will leave you with that version of the story, which will have action problems caused by the faltering automatic ship with only 3 conscious ppl aboard. 
 
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WARNING DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE
 
Now for the character driven part of the story that I liked.  While Jim was the first to awaken from hibernation, he was the only one for over a year.  The little details I liked were that his beard was just a shadow from 30 years in hibernation but started growing after he woke up. 
 
He is trying to adjust in his solitude but realizes he will just exist around that ship until he eventually dies a few decades before the crowd wakes up.  He is changing, getting primal with his loneliness and admires Aurora and faced with the ethical dilemma of should he wake another person for companionship. 
 
His only sounding board is the android Arthur who only knows bartender platitudes.  It is science fiction but I could feel the conflict of doing the right thing and suffer alone or doing the horrendous violation of another person by waking them to share your fate of dying before the ship reaches its destination.  I suppose my absorption into this story line is why I liked the movie.  How much easier had the writers made Jim and Aurora awaken from the same system malfunction. 
 
Also, I got into the deception of Jim not telling Aurora that he woke her, letting her believe it was a malfunction.  This got pushed aside in his mind as they developed an intimate relationship but for me I would have always felt guilty about it. Her rage on discovering the truth was palpable.  (I have trust issues - I have always been honest with significant others and need honesty from them).  I could so understand her reaction - and his shame to the point of not resisting when she was about to bash his head with a crowbar.  Good, honest drama.
 
The fact that after some near-death moments together she realizes that she was stuck with this guy whom she learned to love before she learned of his violation of her life.  Gus seemed to understand that a desperate person, to the point of suicide would do desperate things.
 
I also thot her resigning herself to the new fate - that changed from her anticipated life on a new planet 4 generations after everyone she knew on earth had died was realistic.  But, I have a tattoo on my arm that says "Life is a Journey, Not a Destination."

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