Shane McDonald Facebook pixel
Passengers – Movie Review / Film Review

Passengers – Movie Review / Film Review

Jim Preston is one of 5,000 passengers on board the spaceship, Starship Avalon. The ship is on a 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet “Homestead 2”. After a malfunction in Jim Preston’s hibernation pod, Jim (played by Chris Pratt) is the only one awake. Now he is stranded on the spaceship, still 90 years from his destination.

Passengers – Movie Review

If you watch the trailer of Passengers you may get a sense of what is happening. My initial interpretation of the Passengers trailer was different. I thought both were all awoken by mistake. I also thought perhaps there was a conspiracy to sabotage the starships journey. I even tought that perhaps these were all AI lifeforms which were being banished from earth. All of my personal assumptions about the movie were incorrect.

The movie starts with Jim being prematurely woken from his hypersleep. He doesn’t know what is happening and tries everything to gain control of the situation. Jim tried everything from trying to gain access to the bridge, to trying to get back into the hypersleep chamber. You get to see how one man lives for over a year without anyone else to talk to. He has an android barman, named Arthur, but he longs for human companionship. Jim tries all the amenities on the ship but nothing makes him feel any better about his predicament. You see him disintegrate into a man who feels that all is lost.

It is at this point he meets Aurora (no spoilers here, so apologies for a key section skipped). Although Aurora is alarmed to have been woken but Jim does his best to reassure her. Aurora and himself get on very well and eventually for a romantic relationship. However after Arthur, the barman (played by Michael Sheen), tells Aurora some background information she breaksdown. All seems lost, but a bigger problem is looming. The ship systems are failing and the ship is on the brink of destruction. The ship will have to be repaired, but how can it be done in time? Can they go back to hypersleep? Are they doomed to live out their lives on a sleeping starship? ….


Overall Passengers is a really enjoyable movie and is certainly worth seeing on the big screen. There are points in the movie where I felt a small bit bored, as it was a bit like Groundhog Day. However, it is obvious that these scenes are required to convey the monotony of life on your own in such a confined space. I saw this in 2D but I feel you might get more from this in 3D. There are stunning sweepinh scenes of nebluae, space walks and transit through space. There are a few small-plot twists in this which add to the drama. The conclusion of the film was very well done and I feel the ending was well written. There are often films which have poor endings but this is not one of them.

Passengers – Official Trailer

Passengers – Overall Review Score

  • Overall Score 87%
2016 , My Year in Review

2016 , My Year in Review

2016 will probably be remembered as a year full of untimely celebrity deaths, terrorist incidents and countries voting against the establishment. It was the year of Brexit and Trump. 2016 was also the year we said goodbye to Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen and many more.  This is just a look back at my year and a look forward to 2017.

Rock of Ages – April 2016

January to March was fairly uneventful; I finished a Digital Marketing diploma in February which passed the time during the winter months. With a quite winter behind me, in April all that changed. I got a phone call one Thursday morning asking if I would play keyboards for the stage-show of Rock of Ages. Normally I would jump at this, but the only issue was that it started in 3 days. I had to learn 268 pages of the sheet music during this time. Dress rehearsal would be in 3 days and the show started in 5 days.

Shane McDonald in Rock of Ages at Garter Lane Waterford

Cast of Rock of Ages at Garter Lane Waterford, April 2016 – I’m on keyboards in the background!

In the end I did it, learned the music and did 4 days in Garter Lane in Waterford. It was one of the most enjoyable things I had done. The thrill of playing 2 hours of songs like Don’t Stop Believin’, The Final countdown, Sister Christian and Here I Go Again live on stage was a dream come true. (At some point I would love to be asked to play keys for the Queen show We Will Rock You, since I already know the music it would be a great one to do).

After the 4 performances I really missed the thrill of being on stage. Hopefully there might be more opportunities like this in the future.

Glastonbury – June  2016

We booked Glastonbury in October 2015 and was not expecting the weather to be as bad as it was. In the days leading up to it videos of floods on the site showed torrents of water over 2 feet deep in places. I was not looking forward to it. As it turned out it was not as bad as I expected. It was very muddy and very wet  which meant rain gear was required quite a lot. It also meant lying down on the grass to watch bands, as we did in 2013 and 2015 , was not an option.

A very muddy Glastonbury 2016

A very muddy Glastonbury 2016

I was not playing at the 2016 festival, but I did find a few abandoned pianos to enjoy. At one point a large crowd gathered and sung Bohemian Rhapsody which was very enjoyable. The highlight of the festival was Coldplay on the Sunday evening – I have never seen such a crowd at Glastonbury.

Coldplay at Glastonbury 2016 - Michael Eavis joins on stage for this one

Coldplay at Glastonbury 2016 – Michael Eavis joins on stage for this one – Summer 2016

In May 2016 I started work in moving content from to The .org site had not been updated in a while and was for the main part not mobile friendly. With Google penalising non mobile friendly sites SEO efforts, this was one aim. Also I felt the dot i.e. address reflected an Irish site better than the dot org I registered in 2001.

Since the transition in May, the site has had about 120,000 page views, which is not bad. However it is far short of the 12million page views the site got at its peak in 2008. 1.2 million of those age views came in April 2008 when an April Fools Joke went viral, resulting in my hosting company at the time closing down the site. (I’m not going to mention the company but they are US Based and I have been with Blacknight since)

Since then I have also moved My Queen site to the i.e. domain and in 2017 I will just do some final tweaks to the site architecture so that it is future proofed.

Winter 2016

Since the summer the few months have flown, and really I have just been spending a lot of time organising my photos and looking at doing more photography in 2017. I will be posting my shots on my photoblog at and I hope to have the first few blog posts online by early Jan.

Hope you have a very Happy 2017

The Revenant

The Revenant

The Revenant is nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and Leonardo DiCaprio for best actor, and I hope he gets it. However, I’m not sure if The Revenant will win best picture. I really enjoyed the movie, but the storyline is somewhat dragged out, I found myself at points being a tad bored, not with the film, but with the lack of substantial action. The film could probably have been about 20-30 minutes shorter and would have been no less impactful.

I did enjoy the film and I thought the scenery and setting was stunning. Apparently the actors had to endure freezing conditions just to shoot the movie. Also they had to move part of the movie to South America as the snow in the area they were in, was beginning to melt.

The Revenant is up against The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max, The Martian, Room and Spotlight.
I have already seen Brooklyn, The Martian, Room and Spotlight and out of them The Martian, Room and Spotlight were ahead of The Revenant for me.

It will be an interesting choice as the films are of good quality this year, my rating of the films I have seen this far is shown below.

  • Brooklyn 76%
  • Room 89%
  • The Martian 87%
  • Spotlight 88%
  • The Revenant 82%