Monday, December 28, 2020

Palm Springs: Groundhog's Day with more Passengers

"It's gonna be a beautiful wedding!"

I have been looking forward to this movie for a while. The trailer was exceptionally cut and I was hooked. Plus, I'll always watch anything with Andy Samberg. Him plus Cristin Milioti? Sold.

The concept of time loop interests me, the chance of reliving the same day over and over again. At the start... it would be to anticipate what happens that day, to learn the routine. I'm extremely curious of pondering the what if, being able to remember the outcome for the next day. 

What Groundhog's Day did... was to put the main love interest as a constant, to start the day as the same, and hopefully change her with each version of the day. I found it too drastic the difference between what's shown as the "end of day" for her in earlier versions at the start compared to the canonical "end of day".

At the same time, it does not explore the loneliness that Phil feels, the kind that Bill Murray is really good at in Lost in Translation 10 years later. That's where the Passengers thoughts come in.

Chris Pratt's world does not repeat on a particular day, instead, it is full of emptiness in a futile situation. He's not able to predict the day, but... there's nothing to predict. He does the same things, a mundane repetition. The beauty of setting it in space also helps to give the audience a more direct translation of isolation. He pulls in another character to share the experience, and they're shown to enjoy each other's company. 

It however lacks a motivation for either character to do something... else. The Mcguffin is... oh boy.

The above two movies, completely different settings and storylines but sharing the same theme of repetition and loneliness.

Palm Springs does a great job of learning from the mistakes of both previous movies. The Mcguffin makes sense (for what it is) and they resolve it with a bang. The main events of the day gets covered in the first 5 mins with a lot of scenes left out. Hence, when it does repeat, the viewers get more context and additional scenes for the day.

Story is told from Milioti's perspective, with Samberg showing her the ropes of the day. It is a much tighter movie than Groundhog's Day as a result. In my opinion, the chemistry between Samberg and Milioti is much better than Pratt and Lawerence or Murray and MacDowell. This time as Milioti is in the time loop with Samberg, both have lots of character development and play off each other.

People have been calling Palm Springs a modern revised Groundhog's Day. That is absolutely correct. To me, I reckon it to a more refined and enjoyable Passengers.

Go watch it, is what I'm saying.

"It's gonna be a beautiful wedding!"


P.S. I also love that they threw in a quick 2 seconds of J.K. Simmons holding a whip and "lashing" out at Samberg. It's amazing.

P.P.S. Coincidentally, there's a video on YouTube on how if Passengers was rearranged it would be a much more interesting movie. 

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