Featuring two of Hollywood's hottest stars in your film should certainly give a movie an edge but without a quality story to tell, it means nothing. This was the case for 2016 sci-fi film Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. The movie, directed by Morten Tyldum, certainly had star power but the plot left movie-goers scratching their heads after the film's release. Call it misleading trailer tactics or whatever you want but a certain detail in the plot changed the tone of the film and garnered a lot of criticism.
#Passengers was thought to be a tale of a ship making an intergalactic journey to a new viable planet to start a new community. The ship carrying thousands of new colonists is on an 120-year trip but one of the members, Jim (#ChrisPratt) wakes up 90 years early after his hibernation pod malfunctions. The trailer goes on to make viewers think that Jennifer Lawrence's character Aurora also awakens from her pod and the two become the lone colonists stuck on the ship who eventually save all of the inhabitants and eventually fall in love - if only that had been the case.
The plot takes a turn when Jim is desperate for companionship, so much so that he makes the questionable choice without consent to wake Aurora up from her pod (after fawning over her for a few months), solidifying her fate of never making it to the planet. Jim leads her to believe she was another victim of the malfunction which obviously makes matters worse, for the viewers as well.
The decision for the male character to awaken the pretty stranger for his personal benefit has received major backlash for the sexist tone. It is very difficult glide over that crucial detail and root for these characters to fall in love when there is a Stockholm Syndrome-esque message being presented. But while speaking with Vogue, #JenniferLawrence commented on the film's controversial and downright creepy plot point after having had some time to reflect:
“I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t spot it. I thought the script was beautiful — it was this tainted, complicated love story. It definitely wasn’t a failure. I’m not embarrassed by it by any means. There was just stuff that I wished I’d looked into deeper before jumping on.”
Pratt has shared that he was surprised by the criticism but the reactions are completely justified. There could have been countless paths for the film to take that didn't involve Jim making the decision to wake up a woman for his personal gain. The detail became such a distraction, it was difficult to ride out the rest of the film. If only viewers were given a set of characters we could root for, enough so that we could actually care about their outcome at the end of the movie.
What do you think about Passengers' controversial plot? Tell us in the comments below!