‘Passengers’ could’ve been improved by a single edit in the film’s storyline.
When the sci-fi romance came out just before Christmas, it didn’t exactly get rave reviews. Despite Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and man of the moment Chris Pratt starring, it didn’t set the box office alight nor did it get particularly favourably feedback for audiences.
Warning: spoilers to follow.
Despite the film being mauled for its manipulative depiction of gender in terms of Pratt’s character’s motives, it was regarded as a bit of a mess in terms of its general plotting, too. While Jim (Pratt) had been awake from hypersleep for a year before falling into a depressive, lonely state, we perhaps learn about his motives to awaken Aurora (Lawrence) too early on and in not the best order.
The way the movie is pieced together as a story means the reveal comes way too soon and we’re left with nothing much to fill up the third act other than a ship malfunction and his sacrifice that feel to conveniently slotted in for his redemption.
But what if the order of how the story’s told is moved about? A non-linear narrative often works (just ask Tarantino), with recent HBO smash ‘Westworld’ being a prime example of how deceptive narrative shifts and timelines can manipulate audiences into thinking one thing and then shocking them with an epic reveal.
Nerdwriter1 theorises what would happen if we began the film with Jennifer Lawrence’s storyline and work our way into the complexities of Jim’s torment.
Take a look at the theory below.
Interestingly, its tone plays out very differently when Aurora first meets Jim. Instead of us already knowing he’s been awake for a year and having seen him live in isolation, get depressed, but also enjoy himself (well, sort of); this is now our first glimpse at him too – a creepy, odd chap who doesn’t appear very socially tuned in.
As the video discusses, it certainly adds more depth to Jim and sets up a shocking reveals when we, later in the plot, discover he’s been awake all this time and has lied to her in order to generate a space version of Stockholm syndrome.
In this case, and as Aurora learns of Jim’s deception, we as an audience hear the horrible truth as she does. It also positions Jim as a far more villainous and selfish character that totally alters his reasons for putting his life on the line to save hers.
It’s not often that there seems a legitimate case for how a film could be re-edited to vastly improve it, but this could be the best example yet. While we as film audiences are given treats like ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ in chrome and extended, adult cuts of certain movies, could we see a new edit of ‘Passengers’ released in the future?