Today I went to see Passengers while it was still in theaters. Mostly I was interested in seeing J.Law, since she was such a perfect embodiment of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games films. I also enjoyed watching her in American Hustle.
The premise of Passengers is that some intrepid travelers undertake a 120 year trip to a new planet, called Homestead 2. Two passengers wake up 90 years too early. Complications ensue.
The movie is beautiful, brilliantly shot. The clean, curving lines of the halls and rooms, the luxurious amenities, the sense of echoing, empty space both within and without the ship, which employs a novel design style. The lingering shot on the long lines of Chris Pratt’s naked back and buttocks fits right into the overall elegant design.
However, even as I was genuinely entertained, I was never in any doubt that our attractive, young protagonists would get together. That’s why they cast Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, right? As my mind wandered, I was caught instead by the similarities of this movie to the Disney cartoon Sleeping Beauty.
First of all, the name–Aurora is the name for both the writer and the princess. The red roses, given to both, the blonde hair and blue eyes are all striking comparisons. Plus, Aurora the writer is the daughter of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, so she’s literary royalty.
But where is our villain? Where is the great fire breathing dragon, Maleficent?
The true villain is a thing, the ship itself which is malfunctioning, hence setting up the whole basis for the movie itself. When Jim Preston grabs a makeshift shield to go do battle with a stuck exterior door, I am struck by the visual parallel to Prince Philip holding up his own to bear the brunt of dragon fire.
Random Aside: Really, the main male character had to be named James? Another Jim exploring where no man has gone before? The idea made it nearly impossible for me to take this movie seriously right from the start.
OK, so where are the three magical fairies? Well, that’s even more of a stretch, but I think those in a science fiction setting would have to be the robots. After all, they make all the mess magically disappear!
So, there you have it–Sleeping Beauty in Space. Enjoy the popcorn and the stunning visual effects, but don’t expect much in the way of mystery or true suspense.