A blockbuster sci-fi with a budget rumored to be as high as $150 million starring a pair of A-list superstars in the lead roles with an Academy Award-nominated director calling the shots reads as a surefire slam dunk, and while that’s true to a certain extent, it doesn’t paint anything remotely resembling the whole story when it comes to Passengers.
Writer Jon Spaihts originally penned the screenplay a decade previously, with names including Reese Witherspoon, Rachel McAdams, Keanu Reeves, and Emily Blunt cycling through before Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt were set to star. In the end, the ambitious intergalactic romance was a decent-sized hit after clearing $300 million at the box office and landing a pair of Oscar nominations, but reviews could generously be described as tepid.
A 30 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes is weak, but one that’s counteracted by a user rating that’s over twice as high at 63 percent, with the all-round oxymoronic nature of Passengers underlined by the fact Lawrence hilariously revealed that Adele of all people had tried to warn her against signing on, although we get the sneaking suspicion a $20 million paycheck helped sweeten the deal.
Stuck in development hell for almost 10 years, released to huge fanfare, proving to be mildly profitable while critically panned, and even finding awards season recognition into the bargain nearly sums up the divisiveness of Passengers, with a Reddit thread pouring fuel onto the fire by weighing up the pros and cons of the middling misfire.
“Good, but not great” isn’t a status any film should be aspiring to, but we guess it’ll have to do, if only due to it being a touch better than the initial reception.