A Science Fiction Love Story Movie That Isn’t

Science fiction movies, especially those that involve space travel, generally allow human logic in their characters.  At least, it is logic that goes with the plot. Most of them that involve hyper-sleep while traveling to other planets, are with a purpose of conducting something scientific or capitalistic.

In the second movie in the Alien franchise, the movie tells us that they sent a group of settlers to a planet that is inhabited by alien creatures whose sole purpose is to use human bodies as hosts to give birth to reproduce more aliens.

In the movie Avatar, we see scientists and mercenaries travel to a moon for a company that is stripping it of natural resources. In Avatar, the people on the ship were in hyper-sleep for 5 years.

What about a movie where Earthlings pay money to be put on a space ship to travel so far away, that they will be in hyper sleep for 120 years?  The only reason that the movie gives to us is that the people want to start over.

The movie I’m talking about is Passengers.  Since first seeing Chris Pratt in the movie Jurassic World, I became a fan.  In fact, I became so much of a fan that I looked up other movies he appeared in before Jurassic World and watched them, such as Guardians of the Galaxy.  I also like science fiction movies, so you might say that with Chris Pratt being in Passengers, I had to see the movie.

Some of you might have seen the movie, and some who haven’t might want to see it, so I won’t go into many details about the story line. What I would like to talk about is the lack of human logic that for me, ruined the rest of the story.   Due to an accident that happens while 5000 people are in hyper-sleep, one character’s pod opens.  He awakes to find out that he woke up 90 years too soon.   The pods do not allow to put people back to sleep once they have awakened.

The ship’s crew is also in hyper sleep in a section of the ship that cannot be accessed from the outside.  There is no way to communicate with Earth, and no way to get inside the room that holds the crew to wake them up.  After a year of being alone, the man purposefully wakes up a woman.  When she finds out that he woke her up, she accuses him of murdering her.

Okay.  I can see why she thinks being awakened 88 years before the ship arrives on the Homestead II planet could be the same as murdering her because while in hyper sleep, she doesn’t age.  Her hair doesn’t grow or change style.  Had she been left to sleep the entire 120 years she would have been in her same physical stage as she was when placed in her pod — when the trip began.  Then, her aging process would begin and she would eventually die, but on a planet with 5000 other people rather than on a space ship where only one man is awake.

The idea behind the space ship is that the humans trusted the technology of man.  The ship was suppose to be indestructible,  much like the Titanic.  One of the ads for the movie says, “There is a reason they woke up.”   That gives you an idea that the ship was not indestructible, but I asked myself while watching the movie, what was the reason they wanted to sleep for 120 years to travel to another planet anyway?

The company that sold tickets to 5000 people to travel for 120 years, was not a company sending scientists, teachers, doctors and other professions to start settling on a new planet.  Anyone who could afford a ticket could take the trip.  For instance, the woman who was awakened 88 years too early, was a writer.

Imagine man having the technology to place humans in hyper sleep for hundreds of years.  Why would we want to leave the planet Earth?   Waking up after 120 years is a new start no matter what planet you’re on.   Imagine the changes in technology, medicine, law.

Why would 5000 people want to arrive on a new planet where they start off 120 years behind?  Even if the ship returned to Earth for a new batch of folks, it would be 240 years before they reached the planet.  Someone help me do the math, please.  How many generations of people would there be on the new planet and how many years behind would they be in everything by the time the new settlers arrived?

Why not be safe on planet Earth where others are awake to make sure you continue your sleep for 120 years, and when you wake-up, to have people fill you in on what has happened while you were asleep?

Passengers might have kept my attention much better had it given a logical reason for why the ship was carrying 5000 humans on a 120-year trip.  In my opinion, the reasons given in the movie removes it from the science fiction genre.  Okay — there is a message that only love has meaning, and of course Chris Pratt is no stranger to playing roles where he is willing to sacrifice himself so others might live.   That is the only reason I was able to watch the movie through to the end.


Posted on 07/10/2017, in movies, Potpourri and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. I saw the movie … I love Jennifer Lawrence!! My main reason … yet, I found the movie entertaining.
    Guardians of the Galaxy? Awesome!! 🚀

    • Hi Horty! The movie was entertaining as far as twists go. I just didn’t find any logic in why 5000 people would want to sleep 120 years to get to another planet. There might have been several underlying messages in Passengers, one being that imperfect man can never build anything that is perfect. And of course, the other message was about love and sacrifice.

  2. yahtzeebutterfly

    Thanks for this write-up on the movie, Xena. You ask interesting questions.

    I think I will watch this movie when I get a chance.

  3. I love Chris in Guardians of the Galaxy! It’s hard for my mind to wrap around Science Fiction tho! Interesting article!

    • Hi Mindyme! Did you see Chris in the remake of the Magnificent 7?

      I like science fiction movies, but when it comes to movies about other planets and Earthlings and falling in love, I don’t think that Avatar can be beaten.

  4. Sci fit is usually not my favorite movies but I loved Avatar and there have been others so I keep an open mind. Thanks for the review.

    • Hi Carol! Yes, Avatar is one of my favorites. I can’t believe that I waited years after it was released to finally watch it. It’s the same with the Twilight Saga. I didn’t see one of those movies until 2011. After I watched one, I had to watch the rest. I’m a big Avengers fan and hear that Chris Pratt is cast in some of their upcoming movies. I hope he plays a good-guy. 🙂

  5. Never heard of the movie but I want to watch it because you did lol. Good point though. Maybe they aren’t truly thinking of what starting over really entails… and self will always be present No matter where you are (for those self escapees). Great points you made and I agree.

  6. Sounds interesting. Will have to check it out at some point.

  7. right oN! 🙂 will have to check it out! 🙂

    • Hi Quarksire,
      Since I posted this, I’ve watched “Passengers” two more times. Both times, I saw something that I did not see the first time. I think that Aurora accepted her fate at the end and no longer resented Jim for waking her from hyper-sleep.

      They also accepted that had they remained in hyper-sleep, that they would have perished along with all other passengers and the crew; that’s because the “unsinkable” ship was severally damaged and would have exploded 2 years after colliding with a huge meteor. That reality conveyed to Aurora that she would have never arrived at Homestead II.

  8. Hi Xena, I thought exactly the same thing! That said, though, isn’t it enough that Humankind seem to have an irresistible urge to colonize and discover? My novel’s screwed if not…

    • Hello VIctoria. Welcome and happy to meet you. I don’t know why mankind wants to colonize and discover. Why not change things were they are?

      The idea of trusting imperfect man to make something perfect that sustains life for 120 years is really out-there. I think the longest that Ripley slept in hyper-sleep in the Alien series was 50 years.

      From the beginning of the movie Passengers as we see the huge meteor and the ship on autopilot, it shows how vulnerable humans are. Machines still need humans.

      • Definitely. Perhaps that’s the moral of the story to some degree – be content and temper your ambitions? Difficult to say why people want to do it, but they do…

        • Victoria,
          You make a good point. The movie told us more about Jim’s reason for wanting to start over when he said that on Earth, when things break, people replace them. They don’t fix them. That conveys why people were leaving Earth also — they were no longer fixing the problems.

  9. Great film, with good actors. I wanted more information on why they were going too. Wanted more from their lives on the ship too. I couldn’t leave my family and when I got there in 120 years all my friends and family would be dead. Good review.

    • Hello 3rdofthe3rd. Welcome.

      I’ve watched the movie several times since writing the post. I now think it was trying to convey some important things to mankind. The repeat of the phrase “That wasn’t suppose to happen” and other like phrases about the hyper-pods conveys that imperfect man can never create anything that is perfect. Man puts his trust in things created by man. Then too, they were in a situation where no man was available to sort-out and fix the problem. In other words, all those lives on the ship were under the control of computers. Everything had replacement parts, but having them without a human being awake to use them was no good. All the computers and robots could not replace human intelligence.

      There’s also that message that if things are so bad where we live, fix it rather than take a chance of spending 120 years getting to another planet.

      I would love to see a part 2 that tells us what Jim and Aurora did on the ship until their deaths; if the crew discovered how they saved the ship; maybe the last one living went into the autodoc and would be alive when the ship reached Homestead II; what did Arthur have to tell them — stuff like that.

  10. I enjoyed the article and agree with you on the issue of logic. I can see where an adventurous spirit would lead some people to want to travel another planet, but I can see your point. I have liked Chris Pratt since I saw him on Parks and Recreation. I also enjoy Jennifer Lawrence’s movies, but I wouldn’t classify this as excellent sci-fi. The effects were great, but I think there was too much left unexplained to make it a good sci-fi flick.

    • Hello Cody and welcome to my blog. Since I first watched Passengers, I’ve watched it again several times. There are Directors that want to communicate an idea that lays underneath the surface of the story line. I began seeing that in Passengers.

      In the future, there will be careers and talents that man thinks are obsolete. When Aurora asked Jim why he was going to Homestead II, he said that on Earth when things break, people replace them — they don’t fix them anymore. While we see this idea played out towards the end when Aurora asked Jim if he could fix what was wrong with the ship, it also conveys why people would leave behind family and friends to travel for 120 years to another planet. Things were not being fixed on Earth anymore. As we see things played out between Jim and Aurora, we see that not fixing things included relationships.

      Towards the end as we see Aurora realize that things can be fixed, and doing so saved the lives of 5,000 people, her mind and heart are re-directed towards saving her relationship with Jim.

      If two persons can save a space ship saving thousands of lives, imagine what a thousand people on Earth can do to save the issues on our planet?

      That thought has given me respect for the movie.

  11. there was a scene where where Aurora tells Jim that what she wanted to do was live on the new planet, write about it, then go back in hypersleep and return to Earth and that she would be so cool because she’d be the first person to come back to Earth and write about her adventures. And Jim said “what’s the point?” and she’s like: “they’d BE READING it”…so I think the premise is that the CREW was trained on how to put people back in hypersleep in the pods, if the pods are still functioning. Jim could have done it too with that one they found working near the end when he gave her a choice.

    • Hello Andreea. Happy to meet you.

      Aurora was going to spend a year on Homestead II, then make the 120 year journey back to Earth. Her ticket was round-trip. That conveyed to me that maybe it took a year to get the ship into condition to return to Earth.

      The pod at the end was the autodoc used to diagnose and treat illness. Jim said that Gus mentioned that it had a function to put people to sleep. Jim was remorseful that he had awakened Aurora.

      How did you like the house shown at the end? Jim still followed his dream in building a house and repairing things, albeit on the ship.

      • I honestly loved that ending. Very beautiful. I personally enjoyed the way the movie was done but what do you think of this (I don’t know if you saw it already). Someone put together the movie in a different order and said that THIS would make it a better movie. What do you think?

        • Andreea,
          The suggested sequence in the video wants Jim to be a villain, and I don’t think that would have worked because he is actually the hero, saving over 5,000 others on a ship set to destruction. And, he could not have done that without Aurora’s help. She begins seeing that she has a purpose. Remember the part after she finds out that Jim woke her up, where she is talking with Arthur about his purpose? That is part of Aurora’s character. She wants to have a purpose in life.

          In the script after Jim exchanges the damaged computer for a new one, we hear Aurora say, “But we fixed it!” That tells the viewer that Aurora sees herself as an instrumental person in saving the ship and the lives on it. She now has a purpose.

          The person who did the video, in my opinion, fails to recognize that Jim is a mechanic — an engineer, a builder, a fixer. Had he been a real villain, the writers would have needed to give him another profession. Had he not had that experience, the ship’s forthcoming destruction would not have been a needed part of the movie. Passengers would have simply been a love-story in space movie where neither character fulfills their purpose.

  1. Pingback: A Science Fiction Love Story Movie That Isn’t — We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident – Shelima's Reviews on Literature

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