Passengers (2016) made us mad because it made us hate Chris Pratt, right?

by Banned Library in

What do you do when a movie actively wants you to hate the main character? They cast a charming person then have him make a decidedly human yet wrong decision and then leave us to deal with it. I haven't been this conflicted since that Jude Law remake of Alfie. Damn you, Chris Pratt. You could have been a good villain.

    Our movie starts with Pratt getting woken up. He's on a spaceship that's making its way to a distant planet. The passengers were supposed to have slept the whole way, but Pratt's woken as the ship glitches. He spends a year alone and then realizes he could totally be talking to Jennifer Lawrence. At this point, he wakes her up causing every person with sexual leanings to think "well, yeah, of course he does" and everyone with empathy for the human condition to think "that dick just killed JLaw!" After a while, she learns the truth but forgives him after they fix the ship that almost blows up in a contrived sequence of events only put there to have something explody happening in the third act so they could sell this to the kids.

    The main problem with this film is that it poses a HUGE psychological question and does nothing with it. It is proven in study after study (google it, I'm off the reference desk) that solitude is detrimental to human development. We are social creatures and crave interaction to the point where even babies are programmed to recognize and reach for faces. Hell, there's even theories out there that the only reason we don't kill and eat house cats is because they remind us of babies with their big eyes and crying. Pratt's character spends a year with nothing to do but fixate on Jennifer Lawrence. Repeat that sentence and then tell me you wouldn't't wake her up. If the movie had taken a second to show his moral degradation and the effects it had on him, we might understand the path he took in dooming another to his hell. We get glimpses of his pain, but by the end he's given forgiveness with a handwave.

    The other solution to this movie is to make it Jennifer Lawrence's story. No matter how you spin the story, she's the hero. We follow Pratt, but we should be following her. When she wakes up, the movie should start and we should follow her journey to learning her situation and Pratt's are wildly different. That movie could have been a quiet delve into the mind of humanity as well as have a nice commentary on solitary confinement. We could have gone a dozen directions, but instead everything is pushed aside for a generic ending with Pratt as the hero.