• Saira D.

Can We Survive without Other Humans? A Contemplation w/ "Passengers"

Morten Tyldum’s Passengers is a film I cherish dearly, since the day I first watched it back in 2016. A sci-fi/romance riddled with suspense, this film is every antisocialites dream scenario – if you’re also into space, of course. Boasting the works of the notoriously talented Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as its lead protagonists “Jim” and “Aurora”, Passengers satisfies your futuristic dystopian society needs, lures you with special effects, cinematography and a score that sends chills down your spine, all while tackling big life questions and quenching your thirst for a solid romance story that isn't at all too cheesy, with actors you love to watch!

The first reason I consider Passengers to be one of my favourite films is because it literally highlights my dream life scenario. I mean, trapped on a cruise-like space ship destined for a colony planet, with only one other person whom you actually get along so well with, with unlimited activities like spacewalks, theatres, gyms, countless restaurants and lounges, and no queues for anything as everyone else is still in hibernation? Any setting where you're further away from people is my ideal setting, so sign me up! And to top it all off, you're in space – another favourite setting of mine! Heart-eyes aside though, Passengers does an incredible job of highlighting a life without any human interaction, and the toll it begins and can take on the human mind – it really is all fun and games until it isn't any more, and not only do you see this in the film, but you also feel it. The film also showcases how pros eventually become some of your biggest cons, explores living with androids, and the importance of human beings as a whole in such a technological age that’s only getting more and more futuristic and technologically advanced. So as much as I love being an antisocial socialite, we are “by nature social animals” as Aristotle would say, so it thrills and grounds me to be reminded of this fact – especially when I’m becoming too confident in my solitude.

Another factor I truly become awestruck with every time, is this films cinematography. If you know me, you know cinematography is a key component to making me feel any type of way regarding a film, and Passengers offers up some of the best special effects and cinematic views of space, period. Whether our protagonists are out on a spacewalk, whether the ship is slingshotting around a star or toward the colony planet “Homestead II” in general, the camera shots this film boasts are literally out of this world and leaves you wishing you could experience and see it all, for yourself! Truly a film that engulfs you in the set and setting, Passengers almost distracts you from your own world, and absorbs you directly into its own. But, cinematography doesn’t achieve this level of absorption on its own. No, it must be accompanied with an outstanding score to completely pick you right up from where you are and plop you right into the story setting itself. Following the general theme of orchestrated scores paired with sci-fi films, Passengers score is a light and slightly eery soundtrack that makes you feel the emptiness of space, as well as its sublime beauty – rightly deserving of its Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. An oxymoron if there ever was one, this films score blends and reflects the almost packed void space is. That vast and continuously expanding into the unknown, is as busy as it is completely empty and alone, and this reciprocates the exact feelings protagonist Jim and even you, the viewer, begin to feel as more time passes. Ah, don’t you just love how mere aspects of films act as arms, that pull you right into their universe?!

The final straw in this sci-fi/romance that puts it at the top of my favourite films heap and, adds a layer of depth that would entice anyone, is its overarching message: that we’re passengers. Passengers on a spaceship quite literally in the film, but moreover we are passengers of life – as this film so brilliantly highlights for viewers. As the film progresses and reaches its end, we’re shown and can even discover for ourselves (the second time you watch it most likely), that although we think and try to have control over our own lives, we really aren’t at the steering wheel at all. One needs to understand and accept that we’re “passengers” on a train leading to our eventual deaths, but what happens on the train before it reaches its destination isn't entirely up to us! The universe has a plan of its own for every living organism both on Earth and in space, and to be able to recognize, understand and welcome this factoid into our personal lives is, I believe, the first step to living a better or your best life. Why? Because it eliminates so much of the stress that surrounds thinking about the future, it softens blows when things happen in life that weren’t “according to plan” or are unexpected, and it provides you with a different perspective on life as a whole which is oh so important! If one remembers or just starts to live life versus constantly planning or projecting, you’ll live an entirely different life. Doesn’t that sound exciting?! And if that terrifies you, just watch Passengers and see how you feel by the end of it, as I can almost 100% guarantee your point of view will change. So get ready, get set, and head off to space!

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