There probably aren’t many great sci-fi movies that have had such a big hit in recent years as “Passengers” starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Wrongly, says CELEBTAP editor Benjamin Hecht.

Sony Pictures

“Passengers” starring superstars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence was critically acclaimed when it hit theaters in 2016 (or 2017 in Germany). The sci-fi blockbuster has a poor average rating of just 41 percent on Metacritic and noisy Rotten tomatoes more than two-thirds of critics have a negative opinion of the film. An absolute indictment for such an ambitious and expensive production with a budget of 110 million dollars.

But I don’t think “Passengers” deserves all the bad feedback. Certainly, Morten Tyldum’s questionable sci-fi romance (“The Imitation Game”) is not a masterpiece of the sci-fi genre. Nevertheless, I want to make a clear recommendation here and explain why, despite its flaws (or maybe because of it), I think Passengers is a great sci-fi movie.

Today, Saturday, February 18, 2023,”passengers“ At 8:15 p.m. on VOX on free TV. If you miss the broadcasts, you can also stream the movie as VOD from Amazon for a rental fee.

›› “Passengers” as VOD at Amazon*

Therefore, look at “Passengers”.

“Passengers” is easy to spoil, so here are the qualities of the film in a nutshell, without plot descriptions:

The sci-fi drama first of all impresses with its blatant contradictions, which create a unique atmosphere. Because Morten Tyldum tells a very intimate, almost room game-like story with the resources of a blockbuster. As Carsten Baumgardt noted in the CELEBTAP review, “Intimacy meets here […] to epic format, love drama to space spectacle” and bold ideas to glossy Hollywood cinema.

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What intrigues me even more personally is the stark disconnect between the superficially beautiful facade and the gritty subtext, embracing not just the romance of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, but every corner of the set design and every virtual CGI fiber, albeit as Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence marvel at the endless (and endlessly beautiful) expanse of space or the latter takes a spectacular bath in weightlessness. “Passengers” just looks damn good, but rotten inside.

The spaceship is actually a cruise ship in space. Everything has been polished to a high gloss, there is a beautiful garden, sensational entertainment options, an android butler and much more. But to the film’s protagonists, this flying playground is nothing more than a chrome-plated luxury prison from which they will never escape, which brings us to the film’s premise.

That’s what “Passengers” is about

During a decades-long flight to a distant planet, mechanic Jim (Chris Pratt) and journalist Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) wake up from their cryosleep 90 years early. Since there is no way to return to this state, it is a death sentence. The two will die aboard the starship before reaching the safe colony. That much is certain.

But common destiny brings the two together and they spend a romantic time together until a technical glitch threatens to damage the starship so badly that the other 5,000 or so passengers will never reach their destination either. The great romance of the two is so shaken by an existential threat. At least that’s what the trailer sells us as the movie’s central conflict, but that’s far from the whole truth…

Leading actress knew it from the start: this sci-fi blockbuster is going to be a flop!

If you watch the trailer of “Passengers” you will get a completely wrong impression. The reason the two are awake is the real conflict of “Passengers” and it reaches bitter dimensions that make the movie unforgettable for me.

Ironically, this turn is also the reason for the many scathing reviews. To get into that, I have to spoiler a bit…

The criticism of “Passengers” is justified, but exaggerated

Warning, spoilers for “Passengers”!

It turns out that only Jim originally awakens from hibernation. In his loneliness, however, he falls in love with Aurora and decides to wake up his fellow passenger, thus carrying out her death sentence, just to make his own journey more bearable. This highly selfish decision earned “Passengers” a lot of criticism.

The movie sells us Jim as a tragic hero, simultaneously doing something so immeasurably bad that we can’t possibly forgive him throughout its run.

I also find the way in which this conflict is ultimately resolved questionable, but that doesn’t ruin the whole film for me.

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What Jim is doing is morally wrong, but that doesn’t make him a brute. When I see the movie I always know he made a terrible mistake, but I can also understand what he did. Jim was trapped in one of the worst situations imaginable as a human being: spending his entire life in absolute solitude, never meeting another soul.

We’re not talking about a frustrated psychopath who stalks his ex-girlfriend because he can’t take no, but a person who has no prospect of ever communicating with another living being again. Social relationships are among the basic needs of our species. Jim’s decision to wake Aurora is horrifying but deeply human.

The major point of criticism makes “Passengers” worth watching

I’ve often heard and read the suggestion that Passengers would have been much better as a dark psychological thriller than a watered-down blockbuster. But the very fact that two impeccable Hollywood beauties have an almost ridiculously wonderful time in a highly artificial, luxurious environment, undermined by such a morally reprehensible act, gives the film an individual touch that would make a stern thriller or even a horror film. likely would be. never had.

Even if the final resolution of the conflict was unsatisfying and unbelievable for me, “Passengers” gave me exactly what I expect from a science fiction movie: Breathtaking images and food for thought about the essence of being human.

The fact that “Passengers” is still stuck in my head four years after its release and I’m still wondering how I would have acted in Jim’s place is a clear sign to me that the movie gets some things right.

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