Friday, December 30, 2016
On paper it seems like a huge win, which is why I was really excited for this. It was directed by Morten Tyldum, the director of 2014's "The Imitation Game," a movie that I enjoyed, but not quite as much as others. I thought the performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley far outshined the actual movie itself. But I was still excited to see Tyldum's follow-up to that and curious about him jumping from the indie realm to the sci-fi realm. And of course you can't go wrong with Hollywood's two biggest stars right now - Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Plus the premise was intriguing to me. A large spacecraft is transporting thousands of Earth people to a distant planet that will take 120 years to travel to while going light speed. All the passengers are in fancy hibernation pods that will prevent them from aging. Until a malfunction happens that causes Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence to wake up 90 years early. Yeah, that's a problem. That means unless they figure something out, they will spend the rest of their lives travelling on a ship and will be dead before it arrives. What are they going to do? I needed to know. And I was excited to go on this journey!
Then Jennifer Lawrence wakes up. I was thinking to myself, "Yay! Now something is going to happen!" Nope. Even with Jennifer Lawrence awake, the movie still didn't know what it wanted to do. The writers were like, "Hey look! We have Hollywood's two most beautiful people signed on to do our movie. Let's just have them fall in love, make-out and sleep together for the next third of this movie." Because, yup. That's all that happens. I'm sure Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence were having fun. But I wasn't. I felt like I was spying on someone's Honeymoon and it just got awkward really fast. I certainly don't mind romance in movies. But this was ridiculous. No tension. No drama. No story. No depth. No flashbacks. No explanations for what's going on. Just Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence making out and making love. There's no "draw me like one of your French girls" scenes in this movie, if I know what I mean (although more "Titanic" comparisons here in a bit), but they got as close to the R-rating they could with this romance story while still maintaining a PG-13. I don't want to make comparisons to a PG-13 porn movie. But for a while that's all this is. Two beautiful people kissing and sleeping together with no story at all for the second third of the movie.
I don't know how far we got into this movie before we actually started having some drama and tension here, but it was a while. And when it happened, the movie turned into an unintentional comedy with how bad it was. The big problem? I thought the day would never come when I would say this, but the big problem was Jennifer Lawrence. I don't know what was going through her head during the filming of this movie, but it just looked like she didn't care one bit about this movie or the role she was playing. There comes a point when stuff happens and Jennifer Lawrence just starts yelling, screaming and crying to the extreme. It was supposed to make this romance intense and emotional, but she just went so overboard that instead it made me laugh. These two had no chemistry in this movie up to this point and they certainly didn't now with Jennifer's overacting. I think the only thing going through her head was gold trophies and she tried too hard to get another one. The Academy gives them to her so frequently (or at least the nominations) that it's almost getting ridiculous. I love her as an actress, but she did not give Oscar-worthy performances in "American Hustle" or "Joy," but she got the nominations anyways. Seeing her overacting to get another one was frustrating.
I won't spoil the ending for you, but when things actually happen in this movie, it gets ridiculous. We started out with boring, then we went to awkward, then we transitioned to laughable, then we ended with ridiculous. Things didn't make sense. They could've ended in a way that would've made it somewhat redeemable, but instead it just crashes and burns. Halfway through this movie I was hoping that this ship would've just blown up and put me out of my misery, so I could get out of this theater that I felt trapped in. The only thing that is slightly redeemable about this movie is a nice message at the end that puts a fancy bow on it. But that certainly wasn't enough to save the movie. I also suppose we had good visual effects, good cinematography and a decent score. But with zero substance and zero story, that all felt wasted. It's like getting a Christmas present in a nice fancy box that's beautifully wrapped in pretty wrapping paper and has a big fancy bow, but has no actual present inside. Or has a present that consists of the dog crap that your brother cleaned off the lawn and wrapped for you. It's worthless and insulting. This movie is a waste of good talent, a waste of a good idea, and a waste of well done effects. That's frustrating. I'm giving "Passengers" a 5/10.