Saturday, September 30, 2017

Passengers (2016) [PG-13]

Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Jon Spaihts
Chris Pratt
as Jim Preston
Jennifer Lawrence as Aurora Lane
Michael Sheen as Arthur
Laurence Fishburne as Chief Gus Mancuso (Chief Deck Officer)

Two citizen passengers on a spaceship to a new planet, struggle with the fact that they have woken up 90 years before everyone else.

Acting: 20/20
Writing: 36/40
Directing/Editing/Production/Etc: 37/40

Overall: 93/100 A

Review: As with many space movies, there are quite a few unrealistic plot holes in the script but aside from those few, the movie is pretty accurate.

All of the cast in this film delivered compelling performances, playing their roles perfectly.

This film is not your typical pop film (nor a typical sci-fi film as it's more of a romantic-drama-sci-fi), every little nuance shows a deeper meaning and weaves together a great analogy of our roles in nature.

*Spoiler Alert! *

Michael Sheen does an exceptional job as the bartender, especially the part where he "spazzes out" when presented with contradictory "facts" as he knows them to be. The writing and concept behind this character, as an android bartender, is very well done. ("Jim, these are not robot questions.")

There are a couple of cool allusions in this film, such as:

  • The Time Machine when Jim is trying to figure out what's going on once he realizes he's the only one awake. 
  • The Shining with the bartender and that entire room. 
  • Passenger "profiles" in the ship are somewhat similar to online dating profiles or audition videos. 
  • Sleeping Beauty when the bartender refers to "Aurora" as "the sleeping girl".

This movie shows the value of human companionship as well as romance - even for a man. Not only is Jim suffering from loneliness, presumably for the rest of his life aside from the inorganic android, but he believes he has found the perfect woman/mate. It's not just a "love at first sight" whim, he takes the time to get to know her from her profile and even reads her work (making a note that she is "funny") - since she's an author. He is awake for over an entire year by himself before he finally wakes her up and this is not a decision he takes lightly - at all. He doesn't wake her up expecting to fall for him as quickly as he fell for her, but he does try to make himself presentable. As the two passengers are hanging out on the ship, Jim is essentially trying to court her and treats her like a classic gentleman would treat a lady. He is basically taking her out on friendship-dates, makes her a personalized gift and tries to impress her enough to win a "real" romantic date and tries to learn more about her.

This movie had a lot of interesting choices and points regarding gender:
  • When Aurora first gets a meal and sees what Jim has been stuck eating this whole time, this is an allusion to the way a bachelor eats before a woman comes into his life and starts to cook for him (traditionally), leading to better and healthier meals for him.
  • Jim as a mechanic, represents men and the old world, and the desire to feel "necessary". With technology replacing workers and pushes for women replacing men in the workplace (to fulfill 50/50 gender quotas) - as well as the fact that men can't give birth - men in Western society are struggling to find their value/role in the world. Our modern Western society is very sexist against men and constantly putting them down as "old-timey", unnecessary and overall "not good enough". Our society treats men very unjustly, constantly putting women's feelings and preferences first, while condemning men simply for being men (aka toxic masculinity). Men are people too and just like women, they like to feel valued in society.
  • When the two characters play the guessing game about the other passengers, they encounter a mid-wife whom Aurora says "I like her. We'd be friends." to which Jim asks "You think you could see that?" and Aurora responds "Don't you?". (a) This is alluding to the fact that if they had children and needed help delivering the baby, they could always wake up this woman. (b) What Aurora saw in the mid-wife is almost exactly what Jim saw in Aurora, unbeknownst to her at this time. (She won't think of this moment when she finds out he woke her though.)
  • Love was enough for Jim to be content but not for Aurora, as she was still having a lot of anxiety about their situation after they became romantically involved. This was very symbolic of how being lucky enough to find a "soulmate" used to be enough for women, but now women want to "have it all" - which often leads to their own anxiety and depression from not feeling "fulfilled" enough (thanks to unrealistic Feminist expectations).
  • Just like humanity works best when men and women are cooperating instead of competing, the two passengers were able to save the ship and everyone on it (aside from the already deceased Chief) when they were cooperating and working together as a team.
  • Just like we see time and time again when disasters occur, it is the men who more often give their lives to save the people around them, not the women; The same occurs on the ship, with Jim being the one to go outside to clear the jam in the door, while Aurora pushes the lever from "safe" (relatively) inside the ship.

Aurora had everything she could've asked for, yet it wasn't good enough just because Jim woke her up instead of her accidentally waking up. She had romance and a reliable, loving, trustworthy mate and she still had her career as a writer for audiences of the future to read her once-in-a-lifetime story, even though it wasn't the exact one that she had originally planned for. She took what she had for granted, more focused on what could/should be, rather than what was. She couldn't see the forest for the trees. In her own words she had said, "We weren't supposed to find each other but we did... We're lucky." yet since he facilitated that luck, as opposed to it being pure chance, she wouldn't forgive him.

  • This was symbolic of how women take what they have for granted and often focus on superficial and/or petty things rather than the more substantial things in life.
  • Even though Jim woke up Aurora without her consent, her circumstance was still more fortunate than Jim, since she wasn't completely alone and isolated when she woke up (like he was). So he was still in the worse boat than she was. Had she woken up first, she likely would've woken someone else up as well at some point (if not Jim).
  • When Aurora woke up, she was of a higher social class than Jim, so she immediately had access to better supplies than Jim did when he woke up.
  • This was also symbolic of how women often overreact to things and get over-emotional, as she moved out of the bedroom and refused to even speak to him at all.
  • When Aurora showed up in the middle of the night in Jim's room and started to physically beat and assault him, almost killing him, this was also symbolic of how violent and abusive women are and can be to men - something our pro-female society rarely talks about, if ever. It was also symbolic of how women often take things out on men, whether deserving or not, and how men often just take it for the women's sake. At any point Jim could've physically overwhelmed and stopped Aurora but he chose not to.
  • When Jim forced Aurora to listen to him, apologizing and explaining himself on the loudspeaker - and in a very romantic way, "You saved my life and I know that's no excuse for what I did. I read everything you wrote and I fell in love with your voice and the way your mind works. I fell in love with you.... My pointless life suddenly had meaning. And I wish I could take it back but I can't. Aurora, I don't want to lose you." She immediately responded with "I don't care! I don't care what you want! I don't care why you woke me up! You took my life!" She was - just like many Western women - completely self-centered and inconsiderate. She was in love with this guy yet it wasn't enough for her. She completely exaggerated the situation, claiming he took her life even though she was clearly alive, still had her career and now had a love that she hadn't had before. She was being a control freak and very short-sighted. She kept choosing to put her feelings before facts and choosing to look at the negatives of her situation rather than the abundance of positives.
  • Even Aurora's best friend said "nothing was ever enough for you", showing her rejection of contentment. Her best friend wanted her to find someone and that she would "let him in" and have love in her life, which is something that she did find but again, she chose to let it not be good enough for her. It was very symbolic of how Western women are never happy, always wanting to eat their cake and have it too.
  • Aurora was so adamant about not speaking to Jim at all, she even spent 2 days stuck in her cabin. This was representative of how often women (and especially Feminists) hurt themselves just to spite men.
  • The Chief thought it was kind of harsh that Jim woke Aurora up not to be alone, but it was nice that he was somewhat understanding when he realized Jim had been awake for an entire year with no human company. It showed that the Chief had more sympathy for Jim's situation than Aurora did - yet he was never in love with Jim while Aurora supposedly was.
  • When Aurora confronted the Chief on what Jim did and asked his opinion, the Chief tried to stay out of it but Aurora wouldn't let him. This was representative of how women often bring other people into their problems and especially how Western women think they are entitled to never be wronged. Aurora accused Jim of "murder" yet she was clearly alive; At best it may have been "kidnapping" but certainly not "murder". The Chief tried to get her to understand Jim's decision by giving an analogy about a drowning man, yet she refused to really listen. All that mattered to Aurora, was her feelings; not Jim's feelings at all. She was completely self-centered; very indicative of many modern Western women.
  • While Aurora had been hyperbolizing her situation to the Chief and claiming she had been murdered, the Chief was actually dying - having been really "murdered" by the failures in the technological system on board. This was very symbolic of how often women do this in society, especially Feminists (for example: claiming regret sex is "rape" and trying to allocate resources away from real rape victims to bad decision-makers).
  • After all of the incredibly harsh treatment that Aurora gave to Jim for waking her up and in her words, "murdering her", it turned out that when faced with the same loneliness, Aurora admitted to feeling the same as Jim dead. This was made clear when she said to Jim, "I can't live on this ship without you." Unlike Jim however, she didn't have someone to constantly beat her up for feeling that way. This was very representative of how women (and especially Feminists) are often very hypocritical, holding others to standards that they don't hold themselves to.
  • When Aurora put on her suit and took a chance to save Jim, this was very symbolic of her finally meeting him halfway.
  • When Jim realized that with the Chief's ID, there was a way that Aurora could go back to sleep and get her dream; he chose to put her before himself. He was willing to spend the rest of his life alone and give Aurora the chance to go back to the life she had planned for herself. After all of the crap that Aurora gave Jim for waking her up early, she had the chance to "erase this mistake" yet she chose not to. In the end, she chose the life that Jim had chosen for her as well. So she gave him hell for nothing. It was only when she was potentially put in his shoes, that she finally forgave him and resumed what was almost a perfect life. Her love, her career and resources abundant on a luxury spaceship - free of cost. This is very representative of how if many modern women today would focus on everything they do have instead of what they don't have, they would realize that they have a lot to be grateful and happy for. Western women are the most spoiled women on Earth yet they often fail to see that.
And one of the most important overall metaphors from this film revolved around nature:

Nature will not be controlled forever.

There was a point made several times in this film about the "fact that the pods can't possibly defect", yet we know that's not a fact as somehow, someway, Jim's pod did defect - even though it was the 1st time "ever". This was very important because it was very symbolic of our modern society and the everyday things we take for granted - especially modern women who would choose "modern society" over "nature's society" almost every single time (since they benefit from this modern society even more than men do).

To this point as well, nature always finds a way to create life; It's why human beings are here. No matter how many extinction periods have occurred here on Earth and wiped out entire species at a time, nature always finds a way to give new life a chance. This was represented by the planting of nature that Jim did all around the information room (especially at the end) but also by both of Jim and Aurora's urge to not be alone, as many human beings feel this way - not in just a romantic sense but in an overall sense (which is why we, humans, often try to create some kind of society).

*End of Spoiler Alert!*

Overall this film was an exceptional commentary piece paired with compelling performances; Absolutely worth watching!