The Meg is Closer to ‘Jaws’ Than ‘Sharknado’

MOVIE REVIEW When Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opened in theaters in 1975, it took the world by storm. Not only was the movie hugely popular as it was genuinely scary, it actually affected society in a strange way. Audiences began to have an irrational fear of sharks even when swimming at a lake. When Jaws 2 came to theaters three years later, everyone knew the catchphrase, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” Since then, it’s been hard for movie studios to be able to drum up the same excitement with their own Jaws knock-offs. Shark movies became a joke. Even Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge were met with disdain (and with good reason). But sharks are still a popular subject, just not one that we take very seriously anymore.
This brings us to next big shark movie, The Meg which judging from the trailers alone, looks like another campy knock-off movie and while it indeed is campy, it isn’t as much as you would think. When comparing movies, The Meg is closer to Jaws tha…

‘Passengers’ Leaves You Wanting More

Review of the movie, "Passengers."
Michael Sheen, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in Passengers. (Columbia Pictures)
Columbia Picture’s Passengers is a beautiful movie featuring two beautiful people stranded on a beautiful spaceship. It’s elegant, sleek and it’s a sight to see. The actual movie however is a bit lacking.

It’s not exactly clear just where this movie goes wrong. The premise is intriguing enough. In the future, people will be able to leave earth to live a new life on another planet. The only drawback is that it takes 120 years to get to this new planet which is really a long time to keep answering the question, “Are we there yet?” Fortunately, those who plan to take trip can sleep on the way in their own hibernation pods. Unfortunately for Jim and Aurora, their pods open and wake them up 90 years too soon.

Jim (Chris Pratt) is a working class man with “a desirable trade” who decides to leave earth because he doesn’t really have much to keep him there. His skills as a mechanical engineer will help aid this new civilization. Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) is a writer from New York. Her plan is to be the first person ever to make the 240-year round trip from earth to the new planet and back again and then write about it.

Review of the movie, "Passengers."Jim and Aurora’s only friend on the ship isn’t real. Arthur (Michael Sheen) is a robotic bartender. Unlike the other robots on board the ship, Arthur looks just like a real human from the waist up and just like Siri from your iPhone, he is just as polite but unlike robots of other films, Arthur never deviates from being just a robot. He doesn’t have feelings or emotions but is constantly looking on the bright side. Sheen does a good job of making this seem possible.

In addition to being the only two on the ship awake, Jim and Aurora are faced with the reality that they may never know another human in their lifetime. They will have to spend the rest of their lives in a beautiful yet artificial environment. Oh, and there is something terribly wrong with the ship. This might be the biggest flaw with the movie. From the very beginning of the film, we know that the ship is malfunctioning. Soon, so does Jim and Aurora, but neither of them do anything about it until much later in the story. Instead, they just seem to take each little glitch in stride until they realize that the fate of this new mankind rests in their hands and THEN they go to work trying to figure out what is going wrong with the ship.

On the plus side, Passengers is constantly asking its viewers, “What would you do?” which is intriguing. Pratt and Lawrence are great in it and are fun to watch. The visuals are amazing and it wouldn’t surprise me if it gets a few Oscar nominations. It is also a hybrid movie. It’s part romantic comedy, part sci-fi adventure that will keep you guessing and keep you on the edge of your seat. But in the end, the film will want you wanting more. Though the film has a definite ending, it still feels unfinished.

As Passengers tries to pull you through the wringer of emotions, it doesn’t quite deliver. The melancholy scenes aren’t powerful enough, the scenes of terror are too brief and the romance between these two characters is just “so-so.” But the biggest problem is that this ship is full of innocent people who will die if Jim and Aurora don’t do something to keep the ship afloat, and yet, the audience isn’t given much reason to care. The filmmakers had a chance to create an inspiring film but just like Passengers storyline, somewhere along the journey, they lost their way.

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