lunabee34: (Default)
[personal profile] lunabee34
I went to see Passengers over the holidays and was really surprised when I got back to the internet that it was being panned for being skeevy.

I've got to admit: I disagree. I liked the movie (not in an "I think it should win an Oscar" kinda way or in an "I think it's the best movie ever" kinda way; more in an "I am not sorry I paid money to see this in the theater" and in an "I am entertained; yay!" kinda way).

1. Jim wakes up through no fault of his own or anyone else's ninety years before he's supposed to. He tries and fails to wake up crew who could help him. He can't access the bridge and other vital parts of the ship. He can't even get a decent breakfast because he's booked on the lowest tier of the flight.

2. He gets extremely depressed. Suicidal kind of depressed. After scaring himself in a moment where he almost tries to kill himself and then decides against doing so, he notices Aurora in her stasis pod.

3. He's intrigued and looks up her video profile, and he reads everything she's written. She's a hard-hitting journalist.

4. After more than a year of being awake and several months of fighting the urge to do so, he wakes Aurora up and initially lies to her that she woke up as the result of the same kind of malfunction that woke him.

Here's why I don't think this is skeevy.

1. Jim knows waking up Aurora is wrong. Aurora knows waking her up is wrong. Gus, a member of the crew who gets awakened by a malfunction, knows it is wrong. At no point does anybody ever suggest that waking her up is anything but really wrong.

2. Gus offers a reason--that the prospect of ninety years completely alone fucking sucks and would drive anybody insane, etc.--but we all know that understanding why someone does something is not the same as condoning it.

3. The only place at all where the narrative might seem to be condoning Jim waking her up is that if he hadn't woken her up, everyone on the ship would die. Saving the ship requires two healthy people who can do stuff, and Gus wouldn't have lived long enough to help Jim do so. So that's mighty convenient.

4. Jim does not go through all 5,000 people in the stasis pods, make notes on who he finds the hottest and most likely to be compatible with him, and then wake up the dude or chick who gets him hottest in the nethers. (To be honest, I am surprised that finding out about the sleeping people is not part of what he does. I would have instantly started going through all the files on all the people, not to wake them up but to have something to do. I was also surprised that he didn't start doing all the Being a Colonist tutorials just to have something to do; clearly, he and Aurora do that later on, though.). Instead, he fixates on the person he notices by chance when he's at his lowest point.

5. I think Jim finds Aurora physically attractive, but he falls for her as a writer. He falls in love with her mind. He also has no expectation that she's going to fall for him in return; they clearly come from very different worlds. I think he wakes her up because he's lonely and in a horrible position, not because he wants to create a sex slave or put a woman in a position where she has no choice but to be in a relationship with him.

ETA: I forgot the most important thing! Jim figures out a way using Gus's id to turn the med bay into a stasis chamber and Aurora decides not to go back into stasis.

I don't know. I don't think Jim is a terrible person as portrayed in this film. I kinda don't get the extreme "this is the worst kind of horror movie ever" reactions I've seen some places.


(no subject)

19/1/17 01:43 (UTC)
dreamsofghostsandstars: Finnick Odair gives an Earl look (Finnick Earl)
Posted by [personal profile] dreamsofghostsandstars
I haven't watched it, but the impressions that I've gotten from the are that it probably has some potentially-problematic themes which have been magnified several times over by falling afoul of a current cause célébre. The people I've seen freaking out over it seem to lack perspective; I'm not sure that the exact same standards that we use to judge perviness in regular society in the 21st century would apply in exactly the same way on a space ship where there basically is no society because almost everyone's asleep. Some things would obviously be over the line-- there's no doubt that sex with someone who was still unconscious would be just as badwrong if it happened in space, for example. Other things might have different motivations, meanings, etc., than would be the likeliest to be explained in our culture. The movie doesn't look like my cup of tea, but the sheer level of moral panic that I've seen over it has made me suspect some of the criticisms were poorly thought out.
Edited 19/1/17 01:44 (UTC)

(no subject)

19/1/17 02:56 (UTC)
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] zulu
That makes sense. I think from what I saw a lot of people felt there was some bait-and-switch in the trailers--but when isn't that true?

(no subject)

19/1/17 14:22 (UTC)
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] havocthecat
It looked skeevy enough (from reviews) and there seemed to be enough bait-and-switch on that to make me decide I wasn't going to see it in the theater (not that I see much in the theater). My plan is to wait until it's out on DVD and borrow it from the library instead and then decide how I feel about it.

(no subject)

19/1/17 15:24 (UTC)
karmageddon: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] karmageddon
that's interesting. I'm glad Chris Pratt didn't sign on to something really gross b/c I like him.

(no subject)

20/1/17 16:58 (UTC)
tamoline: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] tamoline
I also have not seen the movie, and it's possible I've misunderstood greatly things that happened. The arguments I've seen are along the lines of -

1) Jim gets stranded alone aboard the spaceship, effectively for the rest of his life
2) After becoming somewhat obsessed with Aurora through cyberstalking - and part of why he becomes obsessed with her is her hope and dreams for her new life - he effectively kidnaps her, thus preventing her from ever achieving those hopes and dreams (and not so incidentally prioritising his needs over her wants and desires, despite how he claims to love her in part for them)
3) He then lies to her, both about the effective kidnapping and about the tremendous informational imbalance in their relationship, ie that he knows everything about her and she knows nothing about him, including that he knows this
4) He then proceeds to initiate a romantic relationship with her - however hesitantly - including obtaining sex by deception
5) Everything comes out, things unsurprisingly go to shit between them
6) Yay, manufactured crisis!
7) Yay, Hollywood ending! The guy gets the girl!

1 is the setup for the movie. I'd argue 2 is at least a little skeevy on Jim's part - after all, if you 'love' someone - and I'd argue that term, given I don't think he's ever interacted with Aurora - then presumably you want them to achieve their dreams and goals, rather than kidnapping them. But, hey, as an exploration of what isolation might do to someone, it could be redeemed. 3 is more skeevy of Jim. Again, understandable, but still skeevy. 4 is pretty damn skeevy on Jim's part assuming I've understood correctly and - in my opinion - makes him a fairly terrible person. Yes, from what I understand she isn't unwilling - but the time to tell someone about the highly dodgy shit you pulled is before that point. It's skeevy enough that Jim would quite probably have been locked up for rape by deception if he'd tried that shit in the UK.

Still, I've seen it argued that the film could have been rescued at that point. Jim has done some fairly horrific shit to Aurora though in (increasingly less) understandable circumstances, and she's been allowed to express her anger at that, including physically. But they're still both stuck here. How does she deal with this?

But then comes the third act, complete with manufactured crisis. And I have to say, unless I've misunderstood greatly, I don't view Aurora choosing to stay with Jim at the end as any kind of positive. After all, what it means is that the narrative is rewarding Jim for kidnapping his obsession from out of cryo. And the history of stories which have women fall in love with the men who commit crimes - especially sex crimes - against them is a fairly long and inglorious one.

It doesn't sound like the worst movie ever, but it does sound like a fairly confused movie with the first two acts going one direction, and the third doing something completely different which ended up leading to a fairly large case of unfortunate implications.

But - like I said - I haven't seen the movie, just hung around a geek board where it's been dissected pretty brutally, so it's more than possible that I'm missing an awful lot of context. (And the board in question - though not awful on this point - isn't exactly a haven of rabid feminism either, so.)
Edited 20/1/17 17:05 (UTC)


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