Nobody makes a movie with the hope that it fails. While certain artists expectations may not be as realistic as others, you would hope that the artist in question would have enough confidence in their work to be proud of releasing it to the general public. Yet despite the best of intentions and all the hard work that goes into creating your work, the public may still reject it.
Asked if the reactions to the film surprised him, Pratt hesitates. “Yeah,” he says. “It did, it really did. I was really caught off guard by that. It was definitely a lesson.”
Pratt goes on to say that he stands by the film. “I personally think the movie is very good, I’m very proud of it,” he says. “I’ll be curious to see if it holds up — the criticism and the movie.”
The main critique of the movie had to do with the premise that Pratt's character, a star ship pilot taking a group in suspended animation towards a new planet, wakes up a female passenger played by Jennifer Lawrence. The film was accused of being an “interstellar version of social-media stalking” according to The Guardian.
On paper, the description of the movie does sound a little creepy. Not having seen the movie, I can't and won't comment on whether the movie is good. Whether the film is good or not to me is irrelevant. It shows me two things when it comes to film today. One, studios are no longer willing to give films a chance to find an audience. If they don't have a big commercial opening in its first week, it's usually out of the theater by the next. Gone are the days where a film could build an audience by word of mouth. While home video and streaming are giving some films a second life after a disappointing run in theaters, an initial critical drubbing could lead to the film collecting dust in a studio vault.
Second, it shows the over reliance of today's audiences on reviews to judge whether they will like a film or not. Chris Pratt comments.
He adds, “I’m proud of how the movie turned out and it did just fine to make money back for the studio.” “Passengers” grossed almost $300 million worldwide on a budget of $110 million. It also received two Academy Award nominations for original score and production design. He adds, “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.” (As of this writing, “Paul Blart” sits at 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, with “Passengers” at 31%. “Passengers” has a B CinemaScore.)
A rating on Rotten Tomatoes shouldn't necessarily keep someone from seeing a movie. While it can be a good judge of a film's quality, entertainment is purely subjective. Just because most people think a certain movie is garbage, to the fans of that movie they will go to their deaths knowing that it is a masterpiece. Apart from the technical side of making movies, you can't really judge whether a movie is good. You can give your opinion but at the end of the day it's just that, an opinion.
Chris Pratt did close the interview stating...
“I never want to be in a situation where I’m blaming critics for not liking a movie,” he says. “So I’ll just stop talking. It is what it is and I’m proud of it.”
I respect that attitude. As I stated in the beginning, there should be no reason to make a movie unless you believe in the product you're making. Unless you're Richard Dreyfuss talking about his role in the movie Poseidon, most actors take on roles they believe in. So while it stings when it's rejected by critics or fans, that shouldn't change your attitude about the project.
So what do you think? Were critics overreacting to the movie Passengers? Do you think movies should be given more time to find an audience or does the prevalence of technology and streaming services make that a relic of the past? Should people be as reliant as they are on review and film critique websites for their opinions of new releases? Sound off in the comments section below.
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