Chris Pratt has usually done well with film critics and audiences in recent years, but one notable exception was last year’s “Passengers”.
The sci-fi romance was built around a key plot point, one that wasn’t revealed in the promo trailers, and the result was a film which led to a panning from critics and divisive reactions from the audience.
“PASSENGERS” SPOILERS AHEAD
In the film, Pratt plays Jim – a man who is one of 5,000 passengers in suspended animation on a ship on a 120-year journey to reach its destination. A malfunction accidentally awakens him and only him 90 years early with no way to go back.
Though he has all the amenities he could want and even a robot bartender (Michael Sheen) to talk to, loneliness from his lack of social interaction drives him to wake up a fellow passenger Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) for company – one who is attractive, romantically compatible with him and whom he effectively stalks before waking her – even then he does, knowing he’s effectively condemning her to the same death sentence as him.
Pratt’s character is ultimately rewarded for his actions, and so have been described as reprehensible and pathetic at best. More often the terminology used is much more extreme and condemning. Pratt, doing press for the “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel this week, tells Variety that the reaction surprised him – but he stands by the film:
I was really caught off guard by that [the reaction]. It was definitely a lesson. I personally think the movie is very good, I’m very proud of it. I’ll be curious to see if it holds up – the criticism and the movie. I’m proud of how the movie turned out and it did just fine to make money back for the studio.
But the critical score was disproportionately negative compared to the Cinemascore. It got the same rating on Rotten Tomatoes as ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop,’ maybe worse. I never want to be in a situation where I’m blaming critics for not liking a movie. So I’ll just stop talking. It is what it is and I’m proud of it.”
“Passengers” ultimately grossed almost $300 million worldwide on a budget of $110 million along with scoring two Academy Award nominations for original score and production design. The comments come as a new eight-minute video is out explaining how a simple structural change – essentially switching the first and second acts – changes the tone of the film and makes the whole movie much more interesting in the process along with offering alternate and more satisfying solutions to the central dilemma.