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(Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was for a double elevenie, a pair of five-line, eleven-word poems with a particular form.)


Becomes bearable
When in pairs.
There’s no need for

Becomes suspect
When trust dissolves.
Love’s no place for

MPAA rating: PG-13

I must be more forgiving than most when it comes to science fiction (or more critical, considering I hate 2001), but Passengers seems to have gotten an unfair amount of criticism, even if the complaints aren’t necessarily wrong. It’s simply a case where one flaw is considered by many to ruin the film as a whole, when there are really far more positives than negatives.

While hurtling through space on a 120-year journey to a distant colony, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is awakened from hibernation by a malfunction and is understandably distraught when he learns that there are 90 years ahead of him. After a year of loneliness with only an android bartender (Michael Sheen), his nightmare becomes an Adam-and-Eve dream come true when Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) is also awakened to keep him company. The pairing of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence was a main selling point for the film, and their chemistry doesn’t disappoint, pooling the natural appeal that both actors have earned from their past roles. Also laudable are the futuristic set design and magnificent space-faring effects, which may bring to mind Interstellar or Gravity but are no less impressive. Add in an Oscar-nominated score from Thomas Newman (who still has never won, for some reason), and there’s an eye-popping sci-fi romance worth enjoying.

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But wait…there’s something wrong here, and I suppose I should issue a SPOILER WARNING to discuss it further. It’s surprising that Aurora never suspects this on her own, but Jim in his desperation woke her from stasis himself! It doesn’t matter how conflicted he was about it or how understandable his hopelessness was; to her mind and to many a viewer’s, what he did was tantamount to murder, condemning Aurora to an unfulfilled life, which she’s not quick to forgive.

My VC went so far as to not understand why Aurora stayed so angry, thinking that a life alone with Chris Pratt wouldn’t be so bad, right? As for me, I don’t deny the gravity of Jim’s crime, but I didn’t have a problem with how it was resolved. He’s punished and shunned for what he did, but did anyone think that two lonely people could stay mad for ninety years? The eventual forgiveness seems inevitable, but I’m sorry that some found that to be manipulative on the filmmakers’ part. The reconciliation would have surely been more gradual and painful if things had stayed as they were after Aurora discovered the truth, but the way things play out stresses just how much the two need each other, reigniting the romance that had thankfully already been established before the reveal.

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I understand and even somewhat share the objections I’ve heard from others about the potentially creepy implications of Jim’s actions, but they don’t ruin the film for me. I actually took more issue with the rather prosaic and unproductive way it ends than with anything that came before. As a fan of science fiction and of Pratt and Lawrence, I found this combination of the three to be an engaging genre romance, flaws and all.

Best line: (Aurora) “You can’t get so hung up on where you’d rather be, that you forget to make the most of where you are.”


Rank: List Runner-Up


© 2017 S.G. Liput
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