Friday, May 26, 2017

Passengers: An Ode to Male Privilege & Stockholm Syndrome [Spoilers]

I've talked before about how sometimes it's just one little thing that can ruin a movie or book.  Whether it's whitewashing a part, some bad special effects, or a plot twist that doesn't make sense, all you need is one thing to go bad and it causes a cascade effect.  Which is an apt description because in Passengers, one meteor getting through the ship's shielding eventually starts to cause the entire ship to fail.

While the meteor is what ruined the ship, something else ruined the movie for me.  After that meteor hits, Chris Pratt's hibernation pod is activated.  For a year he tries various things to go back to sleep, but nothing works.  Then he sees Jennifer Lawrence sleeping in her pod and becomes infatuated with her.  She's a writer and he reads some of her work and starts to think about waking her up too.

Where this whole movie goes off the rails is when he actually does this.  Because now what's supposed to be a love story of two people stranded on a ship in the middle of space becomes what's essentially a rape as he decides to doom her along with him.  It's male privilege in action as he thinks, "What I want is more important than anything else."  And when Laurence Fishburne is woke up he tries to excuse this by saying, "A drowning man always tries to take someone with him."  In other words, "Hey, it's OK he ruined your life, he was desperate."  And obviously his needs were more important than your need to not die in space.

At first when they meet, Jennifer Lawrence doesn't know she was woke up intentionally.  So as she falls for him, it's still creepy, but less so for her.  But then after she finds out and falls for him again, that's where it gets creepy again.  It's like Stockholm Syndrome with the kidnapping victim falling in love with her captor.  Or a woman falling in love with her rapist.  He cursed her to die on the ship with him and she decides to make a life with him because they worked together to save the ship?  Really?  I'm supposed to buy that and cheer for it?  REALLY?

Naturally the previews were smart enough to leave that angle out, letting you think--like J-Law in the beginning--they were both just randomly woke up by the ship.  Whoever cut the previews probably knew people weren't going to want to watch a movie where a guy intentionally wakes up a woman just so he'll have some company, cursing her to die of old age in space along with him.

Why was it even necessary?  Why couldn't the two pods have gone haywire?  Since you had a third go haywire later, why couldn't Chris Pratt's have opened and then later J-Law's?  That would have sidestepped this whole creepy, disgusting element.

Not surprisingly the writer, director, and I think all of the producers are guys.  I mean, if there had been a woman involved you think she probably would have pointed out that maybe a woman isn't going to fall in love with a guy who cursed her to die in space.  Obviously the guys involved didn't see a problem with it.  And really, why would they?  That's just par for the course in Hollywood.  We like to say Hollywood is liberal and while many of its stars are, most movies not intended for awards consideration are fairly conservative.  In this case the movie could have been written by Mike Pence or the "Freedom Caucus" as the moral of the story is:  Hey, women, just let the man decide everything for you and it'll work out in the end.  I'm not a pussy hat-wearing feminist and even I think it's pretty disgusting.

4 comments:

  1. It's surprising this movie was ever made as the premise sound really difficult with an unlikable main character.

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    1. that's why they cast Chris Pratt as the main character since he's America's favorite hunky doofy puppy dog and who doesn't love that guy? And then Jennifer Lawrence...she's the cutest thing around so put her in there, too..no one can hate that lol

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  2. I haven't seen the movie but I'm a fan of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.

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  3. I was planning to see the movie, but I heard a lot of negative buzz, so I didn't. I was thinking I might see it later on, but I glad you spoiled it, because now I won't. Yeah, that twist really does ruin the movie. It's hard to come back from that. I'm not saying you couldn't make Pratt a sympathetic character, but he definitely would no longer be the romantic hero. They should've taken that twist out.

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