When a studio decides to release a sci-fi movie during Christmas, they think it has both commercial and awards potential. Both certainly seem possible for Passengers, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Sony Pictures debuted the first footage from the film at CinemaCon, and it looks amazing.
Written by Jon Spaihts and directed by Morten Tyldum, Passengers is set in a future where a group of people are going into space to colonise a new planet. That planet is 120 years away so these people must go into a hyper sleep in order to survive the trip with some life to spare. Thirty years into the trip, there’s a malfunction and two passengers wake up. Those two are played by Pratt and Lawrence, and that’s where the movie basically begins.
The footage Sony screened at CinemaCon 2016 started a little earlier in the plot. First, we see a ship flying through space. This ship, the Avalon, looks a bit like the space station in 2001 and is heading to the Homestead 2 Colony with 5228 passengers. All the passengers are sleeping in pods that looks a lot like those in Aliens. They should stay in the pods for 120 years but, for some reason, one opens. It holds Chris Pratt’s character. Upon awaking, he thinks he’s going to meet the rest of his passengers for his new life. He gets ready, jokes about his cool new jacket, walks past the robot cleaning the floors and looks for people. There’s no one.
“Hello?” Pratt screams as he’s running around the Avalon. Soon, he realises there’s been a terrible mistake, and he’s the only one awake. Then, Pratt starts to explore the enormous ship. He tries to buy a Latte Extreme, but those are only available to premium passengers, so he has to settle for the simple black coffee since he’s a lower class passenger.
Pratt walks around and sees what he believes to be another human. It’s Michael Sheen as a bartender in a setting that looks a bit too much like The Shining. Pratt quickly realises this is an android and asks it what happens when the sleep pods malfunction. “It can’t happen,” says the android. When Pratt explains that it did happen, the robot replies, “It’s not possible for you to be here.”
Pratt’s character, alone, spends his time fixing things. Back on Earth, he was a mechanic so this makes him happy. Then, one day, he sees a girl played by Jennifer Lawrence. She’s a New York writer with much better accommodations than Pratt’s character. She asks him, “Do you know what’s going on?” He tells her and then reveals that he’s been the only person awake for over a year.
Lawrence’s character asks if there’s a way to get back into hibernation. Pratt says no. “Everything is designed to keep us alive,” he says. “I’ve tried everything.” Defeated, Lawrence asks, “What is there to do here?”
The trailer then cuts to a montage of the couple going to a fancy dinner, watching movies and taking a swim. Pratt tells Lawrence she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, and she crawls over the table and starts kissing him.
All is well alone on the Avalon, but things start to get worse. They lose their gravity and Lawrence, swimming in the pool, almost drowns as she and the water rise.
Towards the end, the footage goes into super fast edit mode. Pratt and Lawrence are standing outside the ship. Pratt crashes a little vehicle in the cafeteria. “There has to be a way,” he says. “There are 5000 other people on this ship — we have to do this.” Air sucks them into space. Fire blows them into space. Then the title: Passengers.
Passengers looks like the perfect mix of sci-fi, romance, drama and action. We can only hope it lives up to this footage. The film hits theatres January 1.