by Nahya Tanwir
The movie Passengers is a 2016 American science-fiction film that was directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars famous actors such as Chris Pratt (Jim Preston), Jennifer Lawrence (Aurora Lane), Michael Sheen (Arthur-an android robot bartender), and Laurence Fishburne (Gus Mancuso). The film takes place on Avalon, a spaceship headed to the planet Homestead II, which is carrying over 5,000 passengers. The passengers and the entire crew are encased in hibernation pods for the 120-year journey to the planet, in order not to die before reaching their destination, but a terrible malfunction leads to Jim Preston, a mechanical engineer, to wake up 90 years early.
In the beginning of the film the audience is introduced to Jim Preston who wanders the ship alone after being accidentally woken up from his hibernation pod. After living on his own for one year, being sustained by automated food, with nothing but Arthur to keep him company Jim sees Aurora Lane in her hibernation pod and is immediately enamored by her beauty. He watches her video profile and learns that she is a humorous writer. Jim battles with the morality of waking Aurora from hibernation but eventually decides to awaken her for companionship. Under the false pretense that her pod had malfunctioned just like Jim’s had, Aurora is revived and is devastated by the fact that she may not live long enough to reach the planet Homestead II. Overtime Aurora accepts her fate and her and Jim live in company with one another on the spaceship. However, when Aurora finds out that Jim was the one to remove her from hibernation their love is put to the test and when there is an option for just one of them to go back into hibernation the choice becomes an increasingly difficult one.
My cinematic experience was good overall, the use of sound and the performance of the actors was magnificent and at no point was the film boring. It was definitely more romantic than I expected because I went in expecting to see a film based on space travel but nonetheless it was good. The actions of Jim’s character were rather creepy and his motives highly questionable but Aurora’s character was funny which brought the seriousness of the film down a bit.
The cinematography; which refers to all the aspects of a film including lighting, staging, and performance, is spectacularly rendered in this movie. Cinematography makes expert use of colors and use of camera angles. For example throughout the film the background is the silver and black colors of the spaceship that give the audience a feel of it being barren and cold which reflects Jim’s ongoing loneliness and solitude while on the spaceship alone. Camera angles are also effectively used in the scene where Jim is contemplating waking up Aurora because the audience is shown a close-up of Jim’s face that conveys the weight and intensity of the decision he is about to make. Non-diegetic sound is also used amazingly and appropriately in dramatic scenes to give the audience a sense of danger for the character.
Overall I believe this film was expertly made and the characters were played by actors who gave show-stopping performances however, Jim’s choice to wake Aurora was controversial. I believe the choice to wake Aurora without her consent because Jim was lonely was a poor choice for the movie. He woke her up and condemned her to a life of solitude with just him and for a long while did not even tell her it was him who purposefully woke her. The movie also seemed to rush Aurora’s relationship with Jim, who was basically akin to her murderer. This choice alone ruined the movie for me and no amount of cinematic excellence or performance can change my view on it. I would not recommend this movie to anyone looking for a science-fiction/action movie, as it is advertised, as it is more like a twisted romance movie with a failed unrealistic science aspect.