‘Long Takes’ Episode 4: Would ‘Passengers’ Work Better As a Horror Movie?
We need to talk about Passengers. The new Sony film from director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) and screenwriter Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange) stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as two people who fall in love in space. But this space romance isn’t as innocent as it sounds.
In the futuristic film, Pratt’s Jim is one of 2,500 sleeping passengers aboard a space ship until he accidentally wakes up 90 years too early. He goes a little crazy from the isolation and loneliness, and after stumbling upon a pretty woman named Aurora (Lawrence) fast asleep in her pod – spoiler alert – Jim decides to wake her up. He doesn’t tell Aurora what he’s done, and instead woos her over romantic dates and late night swims in the ship’s swanky pool until she falls for him. It’s a problematic premise to begin with, but Passengers only gets worse, with one of the grossest twists and endings in recent memory. (Read our full review here. For further proof of Pratt’s creepiness in the film, see detailed photographic evidence here.)
Why is Passengers so problematic? What should it have done differently to avoid such a stomach-turning, sexist plot? And should Sony have developed Spaihts’ script, which was on the 2007 Black List, into a horror movie instead? We discuss all that and more in our latest (and very spoilery) episode of Long Takes, a ScreenCrush original podcast in which we explore controversial topics and hot takes in the world of film and TV. ScreenCrush editors Erin Whitney and Britt Hayes are joined this week by Eric Vespe of Ain’t It Cool News to discuss their thoughts on Passengers and its troubling plot.
You can listen to the latest episode above via YouTube and subscribe on iTunes for new episodes every other Monday. If you want more, check out our previous episode, in which we discuss Lucasfilm’s female director problem and offer our recommendations for the women who should helm a Star Wars movie.