PASSENGERS

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PASSENGERS. Morten Tyldum, dir. Jon Spaihts, script. Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, significant cast. Gus Hendrix Dyas, production design. USA: Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Village Roadshow Pictures, et al. (prod.) / Sony Pictures Releasing (US release dist.), 2016. See IMDb for complex production financing and distribution.[1]

Hibernation starship movie, where Things Go Wrong. See for the significantly-named starship Avalon,[2] an elegantly beautiful mechanical, electrical, and electronic environment pulling a Titanic (with a happier ending) when faced with the highly unlikely contingency — space is very big — of a rock in the way too large to be handled by the forward shield, and the cascade of problems with the ship stemming from a relatively small puncture. Note hibernation pods as devoutly-to-be-desired safe spaces, an Auto-Doc of great power, Chris Pratt's Jim Preston character as an Everyman mechanic of admirable ingenuity, the innocence of the huge company that runs the Avalon for the problems onboard, and images of first one tree and then large amounts of vegetation in a central part of the ship: a nice visual objective correlative for the final love of the two main characters, as an increasing space of the organic within the giant mechanism of the starship. Note also (1) the use of hexagons in the visual world of the film, including Chris Pratt's face when he has a full beard; (2) Michael Sheen's British robot/android bartender named Arthur, an important character in this Avalon; (3) small robot cleaning devices, used comically, and full-sized not-very-humanoid robots as restaurant servers; (4) spacesuits as the most intimate of containments, worn against the bare skin; and (5) significantly: the banal danger and annoyance of everyday devices and menus when the situation is moving toward the antithesis of the everyday work for which they were programmed (this last includes Arthur, who may usually be good at the part of a bartender's job involving keeping client secrets, but not always).

CAUTION: The habitually astute film critic Ricard Roeper finds the premise and "payoff" of PASSENGERS "so creepy and misogynistic" the film should not have been made.[3]


RDE 21/XII/16