If left on this path, like a runaway train, like a dinosaur, it’s set on creating in the 21st Century, a new kind of dynastic capitalism which codifies an allowance for the excesses of the robber baron classes with the façade of democracy. We are near, or already in, Elysium, where only the wealthy have access to quality healthcare and can get into Jodie Foster’s cure-all chamber, and education, and where the games of the working class are their entertainment.
If the simulation of empire is broken – what sort of blowback might be a fitting comeuppance from these Frankenstein’d gunslingsers from Frontierland? What sort of robojihad might they wage against McWorld’s future technotopia? What other vengences, what other of hell’s gates from the depths of history might be woken once simulation’s zero death game is betrayed?
It’s a futuristic Titanic with some features of Robinson Crusoe with a dash of The Shining. It’s a fun movie, but begins to unravel at the slightest scrutiny. But it is one of those rare cases where the film’s criticism, instead of wilting under this kind of picking of nits, begins to make the film more interesting. In other words, the reason the film doesn’t work is the reason that it works. I read Passengers as an exemplary demonstration of the American Self that reveals something about the tradition of the myth of the American hero, its vulnerabilities, and its projection into a future space to indulge the American settler mythology that is an ideological cornerstone of American society.