Critics hated Mortem Tyldum’s 2016 science fiction romance film PASSENGERS. The movie currently sits at 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and is generally regarded as an abysmal failure of cinema.
Choice criticisms like “Disappointing at best, problematic at worst.” and “Passengers is an incredibly creepy movie in which a woman succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome and falls for her stalker and stays with him even though the stupid ending wants to be ambiguous but it’s not, this movie never met the concept of subtlety.” show just how disgusted critics were with the story of PASSENGERS.
But what if the problem isn’t the movie. What if the problem is with our culture?
Just on its surface, PASSENGERS is fundamentally “problematic” to post-modernists. It is the story of an intelligent and capable white male with useful skills and an independent, career-minded yet vulnerable white female who fall in love with one another despite being handed the awful fate of living isolated and presumably dying alone on a space ship full of other people in cryogenic sleep.
Feminist alarms are going off just from this simple explanation of the plot.
But oh, it gets worse! Pratt’s Jim is accidentally woken from his sleep after a catastrophic asteroid collision knocks his cryo-tube open. After a year of slowly going insane, Jim decides to manually pry open the pod of the most beautiful woman on the ship.
What. A. Fucking. Creep. Am I right, feminists?
You see, in post-modernist/feminist doctrine, feminine personality traits in females are considered patriarchal cultural oppression at best, and at worst internalized misogyny on the part of the feminine woman in question. And ALL male behavior that doesn’t expressly capitulate toward STRONG FEMALE values, i.e. masculine/dominant personality traits in women is considered toxic masculinity.
So it doesn’t matter that Pratt’s Jim is at the weakest, most vulnerable point in his life when he makes the selfish decision to wake another person and end his loneliness. His loneliness doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that he spends the rest of the film trying to make it up to Lawrence’s Aurora.
Nothing matters except that women be exalted above men at all costs in the current year because in the 1950s, some women felt like they weren’t being allowed to achieve their career goals with the same fairness as their male counterparts. In the 1950s. The 1950s.
Feminism has done its level best for the better part of the last century to continue to make women feel like they’re second class citizens that need to be coddled and protected by the government in order to achieve some kind of abstract cultural parity with the males of our species.
Ironically, they’ve just replaced the protection and guidance of their fathers, brothers and husbands with taxpayer funded programs that have changed little if anything in the process (mostly because women are 100% equal to men in the rights department and have been for a long, long time. There ain’t nothing left to change.)
What’s so compelling about this film is that Jim withholds the fact that he woke Aurora up on purpose for as long as he can. It’s only when android bartender Arthur accidentally reveals Jim’s secret that Aurora is clued in the reality of her situation.
Personally? I think she freaks out a little TOO much about her circumstances. At one point after another system failure wakes up Laurence Fishburne’s Gus, Aurora confides in him that she believes what Jim has done is tantamount to murder.
Um, hello? Ungrateful much? Out of more than 5,000 passengers, Jim chose YOU to spend his life with. And Jim is absolutely the archetypical romantic lead. He’s perfect in every way.
She’s lucky some dumpy schlub who was set to be a janitor on the new planet didn’t wake her up. These people gave up their lives to be put to sleep for 120 years. Aurora’s plan was to hang out on Homestead II for a YEAR, then sleep for 120 more years and go back to Earth to publish a book about it.
So it ain’t like he woke up somebody who had a family with her or anything. Everyone she’s ever known is already dead when Jim wakes her up. Her reasons for staying asleep were purely career-based.
So Aurora’s overreaction aside, the film plays out in a way I personally never expected. With the way Hollywood writes films to fit its far-left post-modernist agenda, I fully expected Jim to sacrifice himself to save the ship and for Gus to find a way to put himself and Aurora back to sleep, after which Aurora would write a book about the brave man who saved the Avalon and the 5,000 souls aboard.
Instead, Gus kicks the bucket pretty quick after offering up the magic keys to the important parts of the ship (his ID bracelet) and telling Aurora she’s being a hysterical bitch. “A drowning man will pull you down with him. It ain’t right, but he’s drowning.” Or some such.
It would be easy to gloss over the “save the ship!” action third act as typical Hollywood drivel, but essentially, Aurora is faced with another moral quandary: Work with Jim to save the ship and live, or die along with him.
It’s in these moments, when Jim’s skills as a man and as an engineer come into sharp focus for Aurora. He’s planted her a tree. He’s expressed his love for her. He’s done everything he can emotionally for his woman and he’s still rejected. It’s not until his fundamental masculinity is Aurora’s final life-line that she accepts Jim’s decision to wake her up and forgives him.
At one point while he’s outside the ship, facing death to save the woman he loves, Aurora tells him she can’t live without him and that she’d rather die with him than be alone.
This is powerful stuff, folks. This is the masculine and the feminine in their purest forms. Aurora has given up her career ambitions to help her man face down the dragons outside the cave which may very well kill him. This is primal. this is the meaning of life.
Again I was surprised when Jim didn’t die outside the ship, bravely sacrificing himself. Aurora is able to use all of her feminine cunning and guile to get him inside a medical pod and bring him back to life.
Here’s the key part of the film, for me. After a while, Jim is able to rig the medical pod to mimic cryo-stasis. He wants to put Aurora back to sleep and give her back her life and career. And Aurora refuses.
At this point Jim has paid dearly for his sin of waking up his girl and ruining the life she’d planned without him. The bond they’ve created by living, fighting, making love and nearly dying together has changed the course of their lives and now Aurora wants no part of living without Jim, even if it means willfully leaving her dream life behind.
Isn’t this fundamentally what all relationships and marriages are about? Living, loving and being willing to die for one another? Constantly re-focusing our life’s ambitions to include those we love and cherish?
No wonder the post-modernists and feminists hate this movie! Traditional family values, marriage and white relationships are the weakness of post-modernism. If happiness, love, wealth and prosperity are possible without government intervention and the destruction of masculinity, then the feminist has nothing to bitch about. She’s powerless in the face of traditional love.
My final complaint about the film, and the reason why ultimately I had to give it 3 Strangeheads out of 5 is that at no point, even though these people are faced with 80+ years of living in isolation on a space ship, does the talk of children ever enter into the equation.
Oh how the feminists would have howled at that! A WHITE FAMILY thriving against all odds. An entire new generation to explore the brand new planet. That is just about the only way the film could have been more romantic. To end with that panning shot of Jim’s fully grown tree and the amazing life and world that Jim and Aurora had created together on the Avalon with a dozen or so grown children tending to the farm raised up by the love and ambition of their hero parents.
That would have made PASSENGERS a 5 out of 5 for me.