Monday, 23 January 2017

Passengers

Passengers is a film about the starship, the Avalon, which is on a 120 year trip to the colony of Homestead 2, carrying around 280 members of staff and 5000 passengers, all of whom are in suspended animation.
However, 30 years into the journey something goes wrong, and Jim (Chris Pratt) is woken up.
Being the only human awake on a ship, unable to go into suspended hibernation, and being very restricted in terms of luxuries (such as non-bland food), where your only social interaction is an android barman (Michael Sheen) is an utterly frustrating, hopeless and terrifying concept, which I think the film carries across very well.
It would be enough to drive someone completely insane, which is why is understandable why he eventually elects to wake up Aurora (Jennifer Laurence) - an ethical dilemma that is dwelled upon at first, but somewhat dismissed at hand later on.

It's difficult to discuss too much of the film without spoiling what happens, so I'll leave the story description there.
The film is part psychological horror film, part romance, and mainly sci-fi. The unhelpful artificial intelligences on board, unable to reflect on the cognitive dissonance of the two narratives (pods cannot malfunction, someone is awake too early) were a refreshingly accurate representation of both how difficult it would be to create an AI and how arrogant some people are when it comes to their creations (i.e. completely ignoring the fact of "mean time to failure"); While relativity had no place in the story, it was also nice that communication with Earth was represented realistically.

Basically, what I'm saying is that the film was not only accurate (or at least convincing) when it came to the majority of the science involved, but it was also very accurate to the human aspects of that technology. There were some excellent scenes to do with the consequences of space travel, especially when the artificial gravity fails.
The characters were (mostly) believable, and very well acted.
The story was gripping and moving.
The CGI wasn't distracting (with the exception of a very brief attempt at fabric, which we still suck at), possibly because the rest of the film was good enough to maintain my suspension of disbelief.

I loved it.

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