Sony’s going through a rough patch recently, they’ve had consecutive years of blockbuster and award failures, even before the infamous Sony hack. Their latest push to break this trend is Passengers a romance in space with two of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
Passengers is about the journey of the Avalon ship to another planet with all of its passengers and crew in hibernation. However, in this 120-year journey, Jim (Chris Pratt) wakes up after only 30 years, followed by Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence). As expected the two characters gravitate towards one another (pun intended), and an ensuing clichéd romance continues.
When the film started off I was extremely captivated, I had big confidence in the stars as well as director Morten Tyldum who’s previous venture had been The Imitation Game. The first 30-40 minutes are comparable to the likes of Gravity or Castaway where Chris Pratt is completely alone and trying to find a purpose while he waits. But once Jennifer Lawrence wakes up, instead of a philosophical analysis on human interaction when no society is around to judge you, we fall into a generic romance that somewhat forgets the ambition of its sci-fi roots. Towards the end, the film also throws its initial drive out the window with an extremely disappointing and anti-climatic ending.
But one thing that Sony did have control over were the more technical aspects and the casting. They sure threw a lot of money into this film, the production design of the ship as well as the visual effects are stunning. And getting two huge stars the likes of Lawrence and Pratt was a huge bet in terms of their possible chemistry, but they play a couple well together.
But nevertheless you can feel a general fear around the film, with Sony in the backseat whispering to play it safe. Unfortunately studios still haven’t learned that their job is in financing and distributing the film, not creating it; leave that to the artists and maybe then you’ll break the negative trend.