Tag Archives: humanity

Passengers

5 Mar

passengers_2016_movie-wideFollow me into the light…

Recently I became a little obsessed with the movie Passengers — the one starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Instead of watching any other show or movie (also because I now have a hard time finding quality shows that are not vulgar and violent), I pretty much just watched this every couple nights for two months straight. Every time I saw it I noticed something new, and I just couldn’t get over the storyline. I loved how it was this intricate, space-age Adam and Eve story.

I decided to Google “Passengers Adam and Eve” to see what other people wrote about it, because obviously I wasn’t going to be the only one who had thought about this. What I was surprised about, however, was how most bloggers and critics wrote about rape culture and what a terrible person Jim is. In several interviews, even Pratt and JLaw basically renounced (or grew quiet about) the movie as well amid this controversy.

That disappointed me. There is so much good to this movie, there is so much to ponder, and I don’t believe it to be about misogyny in the slightest.

The opening scene is of the spaceship Avalon flying at half lightyear speed as it comes across an asteroid shower. Despite the best efforts of the main shield, the biggest asteroid breaks apart in such a way that the ship is pierced, and through a hibernation pod malfunction, Jim awakens. That sounds exactly like a metaphor for conception and birth to me! Which brought me to think about: who among us chooses to awaken? It could be a choice, it could be against our will, but not many of us know whether we wanted to be on this earth, and a good many of us even wish we had never been born. But it is the ship (our parents) who decide to start the process of “awakening” us and an unknown force (God) who makes the ultimate decision of when and where we end up.

Many people have made the connection between the ship and Earth, both of which are traveling furiously through space. We are on a planet/ship which provides us everything we need, yet we are constantly journeying and never arriving, similar to how Jim feels as he talks to the bartender-android, Arthur, who is a wealth of wisdom, enlightenment, and information. Might Arthur be a representation of the Bible in this story? He is the best friend anyone could want, but he cannot replace Jim’s need to connect with another person made of flesh and blood. This desire, by the way, is given to us straight from God. He wants us to want other people.

Jim, meanwhile, is stuck on an island, alone, for the rest of his life. He is the first, and only, man on Earth, so to speak. You can imagine the thoughts that would occupy your mind if you were alone, surrounded by everything you need to keep living, including other humans just beyond your reach, but destined to die without ever talking to another human again.

This is where the story gets tricky. Many people are horrified and mortally offended by *SPOILER ALERT* Jim waking Aurora up. I concede that he is selfish, but then again, who of us isn’t? And I ask of you, who would do any different? And who of us would do worse, i.e. waking up lots of people (or something even more sinister)? Who would choose to live in deep depression, surrounded by 5,237 people, yet completely alone? And the key thing to consider is, Jim didn’t choose to wake up. He was woken up against his will, against the plan he had for his life, just as many of us don’t get to carry out what we think we want to happen in our lives. Things change, and we have to make decisions based on those changes.

There are two other important factors, namely that the ship is destined to blow up and everyone will die, unless, as it turns out, there are two people awake on the ship to fix the problems. In that case, Aurora truly would have died and never even known it; her story would be completely over if she, or someone else, hadn’t been awake with Jim. And I love how they make her a total badass — even more so than Jim. From the moment she wakes up, she’s confident, intelligent, driven, creative, upbeat, and doesn’t complain when shards of spaceship pierce her bicep.

Secondly, at the end of the movie, Jim finds a way to put her back into hibernation for the remainder of the trip… and he doesn’t hide it from her either! Her choice, in closing, after knowing “everything”, is to stay awake with him and finally come to peace with the life that she has been given, and not always seek more. She chooses to find the story — and the good — in her circumstances.

The ship’s name, Avalon, means “island of apples”. This obviously is referencing the Garden of Eden. Aurora means “dawn,” another reference to the dawn of mankind, when two awaken to the world and begin the story of mankind. James is a very biblical name in itself. There are so many “hidden” parallels, much of which I probably haven’t even discovered yet, that it truly makes this allegory a deeply moving experience for me. I love the acting, the atmosphere, the special effects, and that it shouldn’t be taken at face value, even though the face value is so entertaining in itself. I also completely love the role that Lawrence Fishburne plays. His opening line seriously sends joy through me every time I hear it.

It is a story about humanity and love. It is a story about a man who does the very best he can, and in my mind, upholds the best of what humans have to offer, while still being mortal. It is a story about chances and what we do with them. It is a story about overcoming sin. It is a story about all of us.

 

 

 

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