The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.
Passengers (Columbia Pictures)
Directed by Morten Tyldum
Written by Jon Spaihts
I actually enjoyed Passengers (wait for it) in a weird way. I liked the love story. And the two leads have an insane amount of appeal (sexy, funny, smart). Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are so fucking lovable. I kind of liked the science fiction story, in theory, even though there really wasn’t much to it. Passengers is mostly just a character study of a seriously screwed-up romance that just happens to have a science fiction backdrop. The effects are spectacular. And the stars are beautiful (human and celestial). I enjoyed watching Passengers. The movie is like that pretty football player who has all the girls do his homework or the hot girl who cheats off the nerds who have crushes… except, you know, without the help. This movie is so dumb. And there are WAY too many things wrong with Passengers for me not to spoil it. I have to spoil the shit out of this Swiss cheese of a science fiction monstrosity – Oh my god the massive plot holes.
What’s wrong with Passengers you ask? Well it’s dumb as fuck. It’s not smart writing (This ain’t Arrival). There are scores and scores of plot holes, I don’t know, it’s like the movie went through an asteroid belt that it didn’t see coming. I want to forgive some of the holes because Passengers made me smile. And both actors are amazing people. When you watch them in interviews they’re smart and funny and nice. And they bring a lot of themselves to these characters. It’s a very pretty film. The effects are stunningly beautiful. It’s just that there could have been more to its plot. It could have been less predictable. And there could have been a lot less massive plot holes.
Passengers is about the deep space voyage of a completely automated vessel. Humans in the future travel to inhabitable planets in suspended animation or some shit, while the insanely large computer takes care of EVERYTHING. It never fails (or so the plot suggests). But this time something goes horribly wrong, supplying our first plot hole very early in the movie. The thing that happens to the ship is extremely predictable and should have been solved by waking the entire crew (tell me why is there a crew again?) or changing course several years earlier (all that equipment and they can’t see asteroids). Movie ends. Roll credits. Over look this plot hole, if you can. I’ll understand if you can. I could not.
But it’s just so pretty to look at. The ship is gorgeous. The tech is gorgeous. The stars are gorgeous. The movie is gorgeous. And you can tell that the people who edited the trailer saw this humongous plot hole and tried to hide it by teasing that something nefarious was going on. Just look at the poster tagline. “There is a reason they woke up.” Um… no there isn’t. The trailer even includes fake dialogue suggesting Chris Pratt’s character finds out why he was awakened from cryo-sleep too early. But no. It was just the asteroids. Just dumb luck. Accent on the dumb, underlined, bold.
Then of course the character decides to kill another passenger because he’s lonely and she’s pretty. Another major plot hole. Also there’s just one sick bay for 5000 passengers and 300 crew. The cheapest cruise ship today has at least a half-dozen for far fewer numbers. A large elementary school has more than one bed. This is yet another hole when they decide to use this pseudo-romantic plot device “One of us could go back to sleep. We could use the sick bay bed.” The ONE sick-bay bed for 6000 people? I don’t care how advanced it is. That’s like five too few. Star Trek’s main sick bay had like three beds and that was just in the Chief medical officer’s bay. There was more than one. There should be more than one. Hell, the crew should have had their own. It’s a deep space vessel with paying passengers.
Okay, now I’m getting angry. Let’s go back to saying how pretty the film was. The film was really nice to look at if not more than a little dumb. And the actors are pretty. They both have sensational personal trainers and there’s some “getting it on” to be seen (if that’s your thing… not judging) But the writing leaves so much to be desired. The dialogue and performances are light-years better than the story and that tells me the actors rewrote a bunch of crap. I enjoyed it for the actors, their chemistry, their relationship, their performances, their bodies and the beautiful special effects.
Whatever you do just don’t think about how the computer wakes up the deck officer but has no way to put him back to sleep. The deck officer could have awoken an engineer. Trees don’t grow up unless the roots can grow down as well. Food for 5000 people for 4 weeks can’t feed two people for 90 years (do the math). Even with one cryo-bed they could have prolonged both of their lives by sleeping in it. They are travelling at near light speed but get hit by slow-moving asteroids. They’re travelling at near light speed but they can space walk off the ship. He gets un-tethered, the ship would be miles away when he blinked (and he’d be dead at less ludicrous speeds). Sling-shot around the what now… you’re already travelling at… nope that’s just dumb writing. I could go on and on. And some of these can be explained or over-looked but if you have to explain later then you didn’t do your job. And you can only ask an audience to over-look so much.
After all that’s wrong with it, I still enjoyed Passengers. Because the pictures and the people in it are all so pretty. I just turned off the part of my brain that needs things to make sense because of them… And because I had already paid 20 bucks.