Waking up from suspended animation on a starship in the middle of outer space never goes according to plan, especially if you wake up early. In the first trailer for Passengers, Chris “Star-Lord” Pratt and Jennifer “Katniss” Lawrence find them selves the only survivors on a sleeper ship full of mysteries.
At first glance, the new film Passengers might seem like a cynical love story in space, but a close read of the trailer reveals the markings of an excellent science fiction thriller in the tradition of 2009’s Moon or 1979’s The Black Hole. The mystery of why Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt left Earth on a suspended animation starship is compelling, but made even more interesting by the fact that they are the only people who wake up. The trailer packs an extra punch by having Pratt reveal he “knows” why they are the only two who survived the long outer space sleep. Is Chris Pratt secretly the villain? Is that robot bartender up to no good?
Though some might argue the trope of waking up on a sleeper ship might be played-out in science fiction in general — i.e., Alien — it hasn’t been done this convincingly or beautifully in awhile. Featuring a lovely spaceship that looks like the offspring of a craft from both Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica Passengers also boasts some impressive zero-gravity action, to rival, well, the movie Gravity. Could this film be ushering in a renaissance of original science fiction movies that look great, have excellent speculative concepts, and can still be fun crowd pleasers? Here’s hoping.
Passengers opens on December 21 this year.