For folks like me who love niche genres and venues in the world of entertainment, it’s surreal to watch a trailer for a big budget mainstream film when one is actually a member of the target audience for said film. That was the case with me when I watched the first official trailer for Sony Picture’s PASSENGERS, a romantic space opera adventure starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.
Here’s the trailer in case you missed it:
I’ve been covering the development of PASSENGERS for a few years now because as we all know, it’s extremely super rare for Hollywood studios to release a blockbuster sci-fi romance (especially one that has been described as suchin the media). This one will have a December 21, 2016 release, just in time for the holidays.
However, there’s still a caveat since we don’t know if the romance’s ending will be upbeat and fall within romance genre conventions. That probably won’t be an issue for non-romance moviegoers, but for romance fans it will mean everything. I wrote a post about this issue for Heroes and Heartbreakers called Passengers and the Questionable Promise of Sci-Fi Romance Films. Here’s the gist of it:
Sci-fi romance books are great, but many of us enjoy an SF flavored romance on TV or in theaters as well. Unfortunately, these types of shows and movies are rare, at least in terms of the stories’ adherence to genre conventions. Not only that, many are helmed and/or produced by men—hardly the same folks who know genre romance inside and out. So when news of a blockbuster movie like Passengers emerges, it creates a conundrum for romance fans.
Even if it’s necessary to still keep our expectations in check, the PASSENGERS trailer certainly reveals a strong integration of SF and romance elements. This story looks like it would fall apart if you removed either one. So that aspect shows promise regarding what to expect story-wise even if there’s still no definite indication about an HEA/HFN.
The trailer features pretty sets, sparkly technology, and attractive stars—aggressively attractive, in fact, but this is Hollywood so what else is new? The trailer also sets up a mystery as to why the hibernation pods malfunctioned and we can clearly expect some action sequences as well.
I’m disappointed the filmmakers didn’t use this story as an opportunity to feature a diverse couple, or at least an interracial one. Nothing about the couple in the trailer indicates that they had to be white. Furthermore, what we know about the story so far only contributes to the harmful narrative that in the science fiction genre at least, diversity doesn’t seem to exist in the future.
As a female viewer, I’m also a little wary about how the romance will be handled as well as whether or not director Morten Tyldum will rely on the male gaze when it comes to the depiction of Jennifer Lawrence’s character. When I settle down to read SFR books, I feel pretty safe because most of the genre’s female authors frequently tell their stories through the lens of the female/gender inclusive gaze. I haven’t had the same such luck with male directors/screenwriters, so currently the strongest emotion I can commit to regarding PASSENGERS is cautious optimism.
I’m delighted that a movie like PASSENGERS has been made, but I also feel sad I can’t muster more excitement for it, especially since it’s a tentpole movie, will open during a time that studios reserve for films with Oscar potential, and will likely be released in tons of theaters. That’s not to say I won’t keep an open mind. For SFR, I always do.
Thanks for reading! We’ll meet here again during my next round of coverage…!
Author Sharon Lynn Fisher’s GHOST PLANET is being re-released for the Kindle with a shiny new cover! Also, through September 23, 2016, you can buy it for just $0.99!
If you’re new to GHOST PLANET, here’s the blurb:
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world–a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy–creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone–oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love–Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.
This month at the Coffee Time Romance Steampunk site, I interviewed author Ann Renwick, author of a new steampunk romance called THE GOLDEN SPIDER. This book features a scientist couple and the interview is chock full of other information as well. Happy reading!
Coming soon: author C.S. Wilde’s FROM THE STARS, the first novella in a new sci-fi romance series. Here’s the description:
To twenty-four-year-old James Bauman, the idea of a perfect weekend revolves around watching Star Trek and playing video games. If he had to fight an actual Klingon, he’d run away screaming like a hysterical little girl.
All of that changes when he falls for Miriam Haworth, the most incredibly amazing woman he’s ever met. If only she was human, things would be a lot easier.
Miriam Haworth cannot love, but this won’t stop her from trying. She must be careful, though. Strong emotions are forbidden in the whisar Empire. If the council discovers that she’s trying to fall in love with an earthling, they’ll pull her heart out. Literally.
James will do everything in his power to show Miriam what love is, but if he succeeds, the wrath of an ancient alien race might crash upon him… and doom Miriam forever.
FROM THE STARS will release on 10/22/16. In the meantime, you can follow C.S. Wilde on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook to learn more about her work.