This video essay by Nerdwriter1 takes apart the relatively new space action movie “Passengers.” The movie has faced significant criticism form a number of formal and informal reviewers, i.e. film critics and youtube channels, and although objectively not a terrible movie, Passangers arguable could have been a lot better – which is what Nerdwriter1 explores.

I found this videographic criticism fascinating to watch because it discusses the devices used in movies to tell stories. Nerdwriter1 uses  multiscreens and additional diagrams and graphics to outline the original movie into 5 acts with two clear possible endings. The 5 acts follow a trope and certain formats that link the story to a more romanic action drama, where the hero messes up but is forgiven in the end by his lady love and receives absolution for his “sins” (or, as the essay points out, he could die). But this storyline is fairly generic and has been frequently used in blockbuster like movies over the past couple of decades.

Considering that “Passengers” has a pretty creative premise to it, Nerdwriter1 argues that a lot could be done to improve it with what’s already there and uses this video to explore that potential. Inspired by a conversation from another video, Nerdwriter1 rearranges a couple of the major acts, switching the main perspective from the hero, Chris Pratt, to that of the heroine love interest, Jennifer Lawrence. By moving the beginning of the film to the middle of it there arises an entirely different tone, set of motives, and meaning. The movie becomes much spookier and breaks away from the more traditional structure of it’s genre. As Nerdwriter1 points out, this doesn’t solve a lot of the other problems the movie has but it certainly poses an exciting and inspiring new version of it.

In another one of my film classes we were discussing directing and writing and my professor told us that we were creating a story to write and direct it the way we envisioned and then think about 5 other ways to direct and film the same sequence. Stories must be explored from all angles, taken apart and put back together again. I feel like “Passengers, Rearranged” does exactly this by demonstrating how order and editing can so powerfully change the meaning and understanding of a story, and potentially could make it a lot better. This is an exercise I would want to do during each step of production and while watching videos myself – what would happen if we rearranged the story? What becomes of the elements we were relying on?