Passengers vs. The Shining: A Movie Review (Spoilers)

Over the past weekend, I had the opportunity to see the new movie, “Passengers.” From the commercials advertising the movie, I was intrigued- I had seen a scene deliberately referencing, one of my favorite movies, Stanley Kubrick’s classic, “The Shining.” So I had to know more.

The bar-lounge aboard the spaceship in, “Passengers” is more Art Deco than even “The Shining” is.
The bar/ballroom in, “The Shining.”

As it turns out, the entire movie had more in common with, “The Shining” than I had anticipated. Here is my list of the similarities I noticed between the two movies. (Please note, this is full of spoilers.)

  • In, “The Shining” the main character is named Jack and in “Passengers” the main character is named Jim. Both are short names that begin with the letter, “J.”
  • In both movies, one of the lead characters works as a writer and writes a book while trapped in solitude.
  • As described above, both bar scenes look alike, with “Passengers” modeled directly after “The Shining.”
  • Speaking of the bars, the bartenders in each movie are not only dressed alike, but are both not real people, although they seem like they are. In, “The Shining,” Lloyd the bartender is actually a ghost and in, “Passengers,” Arthur reveals that he is in fact an android.
Arthur, the bartender in, “Passengers”
Lloyd, the bartender in, “The Shining”
  • The character bound on coming to the aid to each couple in each movie is black: Dick Halloran from, “The Shining” and Gus Mancuso in, “Passengers” and unfortunately, is also the first one killed off in each movie.
  • In each couple in the two movies, the female character is genuinely afraid of the male partner and the murder he is capable of pulling off.
  • In, “The Shining,” the female lead wields an ax in self-defense. In, “Passengers,” the prop of choice for the female lead is a crow bar. Both are dangerous and similar objects.
  • One of the most iconic moments from, “The Shining” is Danny riding around the halls of the hotel on his toy bike for fun. In, “Passengers,” we have athletic-minded Aurora instead running/jogging throughout the halls of the ship to pass the time.
  • In both movies, it is as if the hotel in “The Shining” and the space ship in “Passengers” *chooses* its caretaker before the actual caretaker realizes it. In, “The Shining,” Jack has always been the hotel’s caretaker, so him getting the job is a given. In, “Passengers,” it is almost as if the ship’s malfunctioning is a way for it to claim Jim as the only one who can properly fix and maintain it, especially given Jim’s background as an engineer. In both cases, each main character is more than properly equipped to handle their duties.

With all this being laid out though, each movie goes in a very different direction. “The Shining” becomes a horror flick, whereas, “Passengers” is more the romantic sci-fi genre. I almost wish this movie could have captured the horror of the situation more and did explore the route of a futuristic remake of, “The Shining.” If that were to have happened, you could even see, “Passengers” being the combination of two of Kubrick’s finest movies, “The Shining” and, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” However if “Passengers” were remake of, “The Shining,” it may not have been as successful a movie. An audience member could either be frustrated by the sheer number of references to, “The Shining” without it actually having enough of the same storyline; could delight in the similarities in the two movies without actually being the same thing. Either way, “Passengers” is definitely a novel approach to a futuristic story, while bringing in aspects from another familiar movie gem.



3 thoughts on “Passengers vs. The Shining: A Movie Review (Spoilers)

  1. Did anyone notice that the carpeting in the bar in Passengers is the same design as the carpet in the hallways of the Overlook?


  2. They also pay homage to the axe at the door scene and the snow outside the window in the bedroom. Also, while trying to avoid spoilers, the ‘end’ is the same…


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