One of the *other* Chris Pratt Sci fi movies. Basically "Titanic" on a spaceship. Two pretty people wake up 90 years too early on a colonizing starship mission to another world, and have to come to terms with their new existence, before that existence is threatened by a more pressing doom. Only three actors, Pratt, J-Law, and Michael Sheen as the robot Bartender, occupy the entire movie, and it feels a little like the room is too big for such a small cast. By turns it reminded me of Castaway, The Shining, and Airport '77. Larry Fishburne does not get eaten early by a shark this time, but he's not around long.
The film has a low RT score and my wife was ambivalent about it, loved the art direction. I generally liked it, the romance arc was well done and I thought effective, the eye candy in the art direction is stunning, I found the story structure to be very similar to reading a book version of the story. Long, languid moments put in to show internal thoughts and emotional states kind of slow the pace of the story. More time is spent showing off J-Law's bod versus having her think things through and be as perceptive as her character is supposed to be. The audience loses a little patience I think when the characters don't pick up on the many, oh so many hints about what is going wrong until very late in the film. I know I did. Still, a pretty good sci-fi movie with an interesting premise and a little more grown-up than the usual shoot-em-up fare.
The 3-d did not knock my socks off on this one, but that's probably because this is a talking movie, not mainly an action movie.
I've seen four movies this week while vacationing at my parents' retirement community (because what else is there to do at night in a retirement community?). Every night, my wife and I were like "Hmmm, should we finally see Passengers this time?", but we always ended up seeing something else (Why Him?, La La Land, Jackie, Sing)... Maybe I was irked by having to sit through the trailer 12 times in the last two months, or maybe I was swayed by the bad word of mouth? I don't know, but your review, as well, doesn't really provide me a ringing endorsement to go see it in theaters instead of waiting for it to be on HBO a year from now.
But here's the thing: not many movies get my wife and I talking in depth about the plot or ideas in them, but this one did. For quite some time. It's a cliche to call something "thought-provoking", but, I think a movie is pretty good when you leave it and then spend the next two hours going over it with someone, and not just what you didn't like, but how you felt about the characters.
It's not a bad movie. It's competent, and has ideas.
It's just not a stand-on-your-chair-and-shout Oscar-winner.
My wife and I finally caved and watched this on the last night of our vacation. She liked it a lot. I liked it somewhat. We too had a decently lengthy discussion about the hypotheticals of waking up alone on a space ship doomed to die, and what we would do.
*SPOILERS* *FOR THOSE WHO CARE*
I think I was really on board with this movie up until maybe like 3/4ths of the way through it. But the last act just didn't do it for me. I guess I didn't really buy Aurora's turn towards falling back in love with Jim when the ship was falling apart. In one way, I guess I can see maybe her thought process of "OK, if he dies, I guess *I'll* be the one alone for the rest of my life...", but at the same time, it wasn't even like two scenes earlier that she still hated his guts immensely for, ya know, basically condemning her to die on a spaceship just so he could get laid.
And don't say one of, if not THE primary reasons wasn't to get laid, because he could have unfrozen any number of the 5000 brilliant, carefully chosen awesome people that got to fly to Homestead II, and been perfectly fine hanging out with any of them. He chose the one that looked like a model.
But, to stay positive, I thought the concept of the movie, and *most* of the plot to be really entertaining. And I agree with you that the spaceship had some really cool production design.
On a final note, though, I laughed at Andy Garcia's appearance in the film, and the fact that he got 5th billing in the credits. He's in the movie for four seconds! And doesn't even have any dialogue! I'm guessing that his scenes got left on the cutting room floor? But he was still contractually due to get his name in big letters in the credits? I just thought it was a pretty funny note to end the movie on. "Oh, hey, there's Andy Garcia...!"
[Mark Suszko] "Larry Fishburne does not get eaten early by a shark this time, but he's not around long."
Wrong dude! Sam Jackson gets surprised eaten by the shark in Deep Blue Sea. Unless L-Fish gets eaten in a shark movie that I don't know about?
This movie apparently had a later re-write to get a "happier" ending. I think a darker but more gripping movie would have been that Pratt was alone longer than just one year, we don't know exactly how many, and J-Law was not the first person Pratt thawed out. Maybe she was the 4th or 5th, and the previous ones "didn't work out". How that was, is left to the imagination, but hinted that it was violent. We only know there are several empty sleeping pods besides hers. Finding those and asking about them would have been super-scary creepy. Like suddenly finding your fiancee' is a serial killer.
She accuses him of murder for thawing her out - technically it's more of an aggravated kidnapping, because she's going to live the same number of years as before, just in the wrong place, not of her own choosing or free will. But her getting to come to terms with that whole thing should have been the entire middle part of the movie. It's the emotional hinge on which everything else turns. Under the false pretenses Pratt presents at her awakening,, their romance could maybe technically be considered a sex crime. And then for her to have to consider living with the criminal for a lifetime, alone... versus, what, exactly? A monastic existence? Suicide? Shaky truce? Maybe she becomes tempted to awaken someone as well, just to watch her back, protect her from Pratt, and be company...? Are her reasons to do it better than his?
Also, my preferred ending would have assumed they had kids and maybe thawed out a few more people ahead of schedule so that the arrival scene at the end has the ship confronting dozens of people who have had a micro- civilization going on the ship for 50-plus years.
That big and complete of a ship and it only has ONE autodoc, really? And no method to revive Any stand-by crew for a temporary repair or evaluation mission, then pop back to bed? Really?
[Mark Suszko] "That big and complete of a ship and it only has ONE autodoc, really? And no method to revive Any stand-by crew for a temporary repair or evaluation mission, then pop back to bed? Really?"
I totally agree, that frustrated me too! My first thought was why wouldn't the ship have two... no three... no... TEN automated doctors stations?
Then my next thought was, OK, well, if they can make an android bartender, certainly they could have made an android nurse that was capable of re-programming the sleep pod from the outside while Chris Pratt got set up on the inside? Or he could have asked one of the many robot waiters to do it? I guess that wouldn't have worked for the movie though because if Pratt had fallen back into super sleep, then the ship would have fully malfunctioned, and everyone would have died without knowing it. Also it would have made for a 30 minute movie, and an uninteresting one at that.
Yeah, they totally could have spun it a much creepier way by having other pods open when Aurora wakes up. And I do kind of wish they would have went Groundhogs Day with it, and never really addressed how long he was alone before he went crazy. I also like your ending about them starting a colony and that's what everyone else wakes up to. I was kind of half-expecting their kid to walk out of their forest hut at the end of the movie.
I wonder how many times during their life on the space ship together did they get into marital squabbles ending with someone yelling
"I'm sick of your crap, I'm gonna go freeze myself in the autodoc!"
"Oh great, yeah, you do that! Maybe I'll have some peace and quiet FOR A CHANGE."
"Oh, you'd just LOOOOVE it if I went back to sleep. You'd just LOOOOVE to be the hero, wouldn't you?! Guess what, I'm not doing it anymore JUST TO SPITE YOU!"
[Scott Roberts] "And I do kind of wish they would have went Groundhogs Day with it, and never really addressed how long he was alone before he went crazy."
Let's Groundhog it further out.
The only way this movie makes any sense at all is if JLaw kills him. It's the ONLY thing that makes sense. Not just from the plot, but from the power of Jen's performance. There's no way THAT character cools off, EVER.
So the movie ends after she kills him, preferably with lots of stabbing. She's covered with blood, she drags his corpse through the ship leaving a trail of blood, still screaming, LOTS of cursing, then throws his corpse into an airlock and blasts it out into the void, with her still screaming and cursing. Hell, have him alive until she shoots him out the airlock. The point is that she's on FIRE with rage.
Then she turns and sees the blood. She's exhausted, but starting to feel satisfied. Long montage of her cleaning up. Wandering alone. Having a harder and harder time not hanging out with the other frozen people. Then running her hands across the pods....you see where I'm going through this. Basically doing the same thing Chris did, and having the movie end with her waking somebody else up.
Insert arty shot of her hand on the buttons, we hear the "whoosh" of a pod opening as we fade to black.
Because really, this is a monster movie. And monster movies work really well when the monster comes back around.
I think that would rock. We can debate that (during which, if you disagree, you'd be completely wrong), but what seems beyond debate to me is that the movie fell completely to bits when she didn't kill Chris. You don't hire THAT woman to give THAT performance only to have her say, "Welp, he IS kinda cute I guess....." Please.
I think if we put our three ideas together this thing would have taken an Oscar. But it will make okay money anyway.