Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#1 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:07 am

I haven't read too deeply into what's wrong with Passengers, but if I were to hazard a guess (mostly from what I'm gathering from some recent headlines) it's that Pratt and Lawrence really couldn't get along and have zero chemistry on screen.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Films of 2016

#2 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:09 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:I haven't read too deeply into what's wrong with Passengers, but if I were to hazard a guess (mostly from what I'm gathering from some recent headlines) it's that Pratt and Lawrence really couldn't get along and have zero chemistry on screen.
Re: Passengers:
SpoilerShow
The advertising for the film indicates that Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence wake up at the same time, both puzzled by their predicament. In fact, in the film, Pratt wakes up due to a technical glitch, but then decides after a year of loneliness to deliberately wake up the prettiest lady on the ship after scrolling through his options of people hibernating there and pretend that they both woke up at the same time. Which is essentially a death sentence, as they become trapped on the ship for the rest of their lives. She falls in love with him, then finds out from the ship's robot butler what Pratt did. She gets mad, but then they love on each other again, and the film ends relatively happily. Apparently it is creepy, ill-conceived, and gross.
This was a screenplay that was beloved in Hollywood circles a decade ago, was going to be made with Keanu Reeves and Reese Witherspoon (with a much darker and more morally ambiguous tone and sans happy ending), and the original articles about the film even described the plot (which the marketing is now concealing to the best of the studio's abilities). Sounds like a classic example of a studio meddling with something to the point of utter incoherence.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: The Films of 2016

#3 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:28 pm

I think the original script is what got Fox and Ridley Scott interested in Jon Spahits for what became Prometheus. The Weinsteins were going to make it with Reeves and Witherspoon but couldn't come up with the kind of budget Sony throws out with ease.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Films of 2016

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:38 pm

He also wrote Doctor Strange this year, so he'll be fine. Anyway, this sounds like it could've been a good film in the right hands, if treated as an icky tragedy instead of a star-crossed love story.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#5 Post by swo17 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:43 pm

Oh, Morten Tyldum directed it? Well now we know what's wrong with it.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#6 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:34 pm

The thing that the trailer for Passengers reminded me of the most (before the comments above) was that horror film Pandorum. That does an interesting job of continually reframing the narrative and reasons for people 'accidentally' awakening from their hypersleep chambers.

User avatar
Brian C
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#7 Post by Brian C » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:42 pm

swo17 wrote:Oh, Morten Tyldum directed it? Well now we know what's wrong with it.
You're just saying what we're all thinking.

User avatar
captveg
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:28 pm

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#8 Post by captveg » Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:31 pm

colinr0380 wrote:The thing that the trailer for Passengers reminded me of the most (before the comments above) was that horror film Pandorum. That does an interesting job of continually reframing the narrative and reasons for people 'accidentally' awakening from their hypersleep chambers.
Which has been kinda re-purposed in the Canadian sci-fi TV Series Dark Matter, including playing with the idea of throwing complete memory and identity loss on top of the sudden awakenings. Passengers just seems... awkward, at best, and repugnant at worst.
Last edited by captveg on Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#9 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:36 pm

The Variety review made it sound like everyone involved thought they were making Oscar bait, which is inexplicable once one learns the premise

User avatar
Murdoch
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:59 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: The Films of 2016

#10 Post by Murdoch » Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:47 am

Passengers - 2016 seems to have been the year I reluctantly saw films holding little promise. The most I can say for this is it's entertaining, but not in any meaningful way. The entertainment comes from a plot that never knew what it wanted to do. Pratt wakes up both too early and too late, stranding him at a distance so far removed from his destination and departure points that he drifts between partying it up on the lifeless space vessel and moping about. Then he kicks something, finds Lawrence hibernating in her pod and wakes her up. From there the story wrestles itself over what it wants to be. What could have been an interesting story of Lawrence forced to spend her life with a man who doomed her instead spends most of its time on their romance, then on some ill-explained engine malfunction.

The highlight of the film though is in the final seconds before the credits,
SpoilerShow
where Andy Garcia inexplicably appears for a silent cameo, awakening with the other passengers to find their vessel overcome with plant life since I guess Pratt's mechanic and Lawrence's writer were also expert botanists! Oh, also Laurence Fishburne pops up earlier to tell them how to solve the engine problem, then dies from tumors because it wasn't Adams and Eve.

Werewolf by Night

Re: The Films of 2016

#11 Post by Werewolf by Night » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:20 am

Murdoch wrote:Pratt wakes up both too early and too late, stranding him at a distance so far removed from his destination and departure points that he drifts between partying it up on the lifeless space vessel and moping about.
Maybe the film is a metaphor for graduate school.

User avatar
solaris72
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:03 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: The Films of 2016

#12 Post by solaris72 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:25 pm

Werewolf by Night wrote:
Murdoch wrote:Pratt wakes up both too early and too late, stranding him at a distance so far removed from his destination and departure points that he drifts between partying it up on the lifeless space vessel and moping about.
Maybe the film is a metaphor for graduate school.
That would make it the second space movie in the past decade that was a metaphor for grad school. I hope this becomes a whole subgenre!
Duncan Jones wrote:I was at graduate school at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee, and spent three-years feeling like I was on the far side of the moon. It's no coincidence that Sam's three-year contract is the same as my three years of graduate school. I went through my own experiences that informed my own feelings about alienation and isolation.

User avatar
Being
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:23 pm

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#13 Post by Being » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:14 pm

Only a hopeless optimist would venture forth into the multiplex for this one!

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#14 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:23 pm

There was a simple fix suggestion posted on Reddit that quickly conjured up an alternate ending that sounds like it could have salvaged a lot of the basic criticisms of this material:
SpoilerShow
Instead of being victorious, have Pratt die at the end. Lawrence is now stuck in the same position he was, alone on the ship. The film now ends with her debating whether or not to wake up a companion for the rest of the voyage.

User avatar
MoonlitKnight
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#15 Post by MoonlitKnight » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:03 pm

The left-wing PC (faux) outrage I've seen from some online comments regarding the main dynamic of the film is downright baffling. :-s

Intriguingly, someone even suggested this should've maybe been more like '"Swept Away" in Space.'

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#16 Post by knives » Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:01 pm

Presumably not the Ritchie version.

User avatar
Brian C
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#17 Post by Brian C » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:11 pm

domino harvey wrote:There was a simple fix suggestion posted on Reddit that quickly conjured up an alternate ending that sounds like it could have salvaged a lot of the basic criticisms of this material:
SpoilerShow
Instead of being victorious, have Pratt die at the end. Lawrence is now stuck in the same position he was, alone on the ship. The film now ends with her debating whether or not to wake up a companion for the rest of the voyage.
Or just switch the genders of the main characters. I wonder how that would have come across.

Anyway, I went to see this today just for the hell of it, and in addition to all the basic criticisms in this thread - all of which are on the mark as far as I'm concerned - I was surprised by how poorly put together the film is even from basic slick-Hollywood standards. The narrative is dumb, the pacing is off, the special effects are lifeless and unimaginative. Even Chris Pratt's beard looks ludicrously fake. I guess I at least expected an entertaining-in-a-dumb-way level of enjoyment, but I don't think the movie rises to even that level.

The best I can say for it is that 1) Lawrence is always watchable to me and she gives her performance a level of intensity that the movie doesn't deserve, and 2) I actually really liked Michael Sheen's robot bartender, both on a writing and performance level. It's a glimmer of what maybe could have been a good film if the filmmakers actually had a handle on the material and everything wasn't such a damned mess.

Apple Peeler
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:10 am

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#18 Post by Apple Peeler » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:45 am

This wasn't quite as awful as I had expected, but it really is a mess. I think some critics have underplayed the extent to which the script tries to wrestle with the significance of what Pratt has done. It is not simply brushed aside, but it does make an awful muddle of wrangling its way towards redemption.

It is exceptionally dull to look at though (that beard is terrible), and it makes some incredibly tasteless choices given the creepiness of the premise. Tyldum chooses to follow Aurora's major dramatic outburst ("You've taken my life!") with an unbelievably prurient top-down shot ogling Lawrence in her swimsuit. It's like the film is saying "we know what he did was awful...but look at those boobs."

User avatar
MoonlitKnight
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#19 Post by MoonlitKnight » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:59 pm

What's most annoying to me about these people who are all so outraged by this central moral dilemma is that they seem to largely dismiss HIS side.
SpoilerShow
I mean, the guy gets woken up 90 years before he's supposed to due to a damn computer glitch, and these people are like 'Oh, well, sucks to be you.' :? Given that humans are by nature social creatures, I'm pretty sure the vast majority of us would've ultimately succumbed to the same decision he did (AND, as he did [albeit by getting lucky on his first try in a somewhat contrived 'love at first sight' moment], also would've gone through some sort of screening process as to who to wake up if possible) no matter how much they resisted the urge to do so. It's either that or resign yourself to the fate of living out the rest of your life in solitude... or commit suicide (and how many people would actually be perfectly OK with either of those options?). For better or worse, the survival instinct cares nothing about morality.
Obviously this film doesn't go about exploring these matters in the best way, but to not even bring them up when discussing the film just seems disingenuous.

User avatar
Brian C
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#20 Post by Brian C » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:09 am

MoonlitKnight wrote:Obviously this film doesn't go about exploring these matters in the best way, but to not even bring them up when discussing the film just seems disingenuous.
I don't disagree ... but the movie doesn't explore this at all, and indeed takes it as a given that his decision was a bad thing he did that he has to make up for. It seems silly to fault people's reactions to what he did when the movie itself can't be bothered to defend him; I think the critique that the movie is misogynist holds a lot of water given the way the film actually goes about things.

I think a movie that took his dilemma seriously would be very much worth watching. Indeed I think loneliness is a subject that remains underexplored and fertile ground for cinema.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#21 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:50 am

I'm still interested in seeing this (I cannot pass up a sci-fi film which deals with similar 'timescale' issues to Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora novel!) and am open to going either way on the issue. It potentially could be easily seen as a 'when life gives you lemons...' moment in which circumstances derail the best laid plans, and its more about making the most of the situation you find yourself in. After all who hasn't worried that they've entirely ruined someone else's life when they partner up with them?

Though I'm not entirely sure yet that I trust Morten Tyldum to have that much of a subtle handling of such issues after being a little perturbed by The Imitation Game!

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#22 Post by domino harvey » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:08 am

So, for some reason I watched this and... I thought it was unexpectedly pretty good! The premise is wrought with "Oh no"s, but the film does a moderately acceptable job of acknowledging the problems of the central premise. I especially liked the scene where Jennifer Lawrence wakes Chris Pratt up by continuously pummeling him in the face with her fists! The film does eventually give Lawrence's character volition in her situation, to its credit. This isn't much more than your standard-issue sci-fi actioner, but I thought the set direction was tops, I enjoyed the social class divisions (even alone, Pratt is restricted to things on the ship due to his passenger status), and for all the silliness (a hull breach is plugged with a clipboard!) it was a surprisingly dark and depressing blockbuster movie

User avatar
TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

#23 Post by TMDaines » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:06 am

It's alright. I watched it a few weeks ago and had a reasonable couple of hours. It's so evident that there's such a better film to be made with this central premise though. I don't particularly like Solaris, but something more philosophical with a lot more ruminating about the immorality or amorality of the key event, and the scale of the individual in comparison to the volume and time span of humanity and the universe would have been welcome. [I had clearer thoughts about this after having just watched it.]

The final third is a fairly mediocre action-adventure blockbuster though. Does anyone really care about the hero trying to save the ship? That's not where the interest lies here. It's no turkey, but this is a perfect example of a film that should be considered for a (more mature) remake/re-adaptation in the future.

Post Reply