Whale of a Tale Productions

A Post Production Company
INDY-JK--7494

Passengers by Morten Tyldum (2016)

An enjoyable science fiction romance with sone issues, but that is lifted by the chemistry of the leads. And mostly my issues are script level, where things just don’t make sense, or are only that way to move the script along. It is nowhere near as bad as the reviews are saying though. It is below 40% on rottentomatoes, and that is ridiculous, it is much better than that. It is really worth seeing as a popcorn film with some interesting moral questions, and great visual effects.

The colony ship Avalon is taking a 120 year journey to the planet Homestead 2 with the crew in hybernation, set to awaken 4 months before arrival, and spend 4 months in cruise ship luxury (all further putting the passengers in debt to the conpany) while being teainee for their new life of corporate indentitude. The ship is hit by a large space rock that penetrate it’s defences and begin to overwhelm it’s self repair systems. Low level passenger and Mechanical Engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) has his pod damaged and is awoken 90 years early! He is alone, with no way to go back into suspended animation, with awful cheap food (he is not a high class passenger) and only the robot bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen) for conpanionship. He breaks into better quarters, and figures out how to dine out, but after a year alone is ready for suicide. Just then he runs into the pod of Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), a writer and journalist. Jim becomes obsessed with her, reading all her writing and ready to awaken her, though he tries not to, but he can’t help himself.

Review Contains Spoilers…

 

When Aurora awakens, Jim shows her around, and starts romancing her. Aurora falls for Jim, and they start living in absolute bliss, though both knowing that they will die on this ship.

 

It is Arthur who gives away that Jim purposely awakened Aurora, and she is crushed, refusing to ever talk to Jim again. As he has basically murdered her, taking her life away. And she was set on a return ticket (the first) as a reporter, coming back home 240 years after she left.

 

This is when the ship starts to malfunction much more, and the Chief Deck Officer Gus (Laurence Fishburne) is awoken. He helps get them in the bridge and they find the whole ships systems are being overloaded by some huge failure, that they must find and fix. But Gus’s pod was malfunctioning badly and Gus dies, leaving them his ID which can override ships systems.

 

Jim and Aurora find a whole in the ship, and follow it to the reactor room, where the computer controlling the reactor is danaged. There are spare parts, and Jim fixes it, but the reactor is overheating, and the outer door is malfunctioning. Jim goes out in a spacesuit, but can only open it by holding it, unable to get out of the way. Aurora vents the reactor, saving the ship, but Jim is hurt and launched out into space. Aurora just manages to catxh him and brings him to the ships one Autodoc, which is able to revive him.

 

Jim awakens, and finds that in fact the autodoc can hybernate one person, thus saving Aurora.

 

88 years later the crew awakens, to find the concourse overgrown with vegetation and a hut. Aurora has stayed with Jim and written her book.

 

******

 

First off the film starts off very much being about morality, and the morality of Jim waking Aurora which is basically a death sentence from her life. So of course the ending should have been that Jim dies saving the ship, and Aurora is left alone. It then becomes a morality tale about Aurora either dieing alone or waking someone up. Of course that would not have been Hollywood enough (though it would have been amazing).

 

And the biggest problems are the setup. A ship on an 120 year mission that has no option of awaking the crew early in case of an emergency, it can’t deal with. Even if it only awoke one crew member, since it is basically a death sentence (because a mile long ship can’t hold the facility that puts people to sleep). And it has only one autodoc for emergencies (though you can purposely open airlocks when not in a spacesuit). This seems super ridiculous. And even worse is when Gus is awakened he was obviously in the seperate crew  section, so they now had acess to that. And there is no Doctor in the crew, or no one else you could wake up to help out. Sure the morality question is there, but the crew should be there to help the passengers, especially with a damaged ship! Just wake say an engineer! Or the Captain!

 

And then the ship itself. I get that it is supposed to be a strange luxury cruise liner from the future, so it looks like no NASA ship, but i just don’t get it. The 3 parts are spinning to create gravity, but he goes down, through zero g to the central concourse which also has gravity, but if it is in the center it wouldn’t. And how about the space suits and their magnetic boots and the lines and gravity. Was he on the exterior of the ship, with gravity going out (which really makes his tears going down make no sense), and if so why did he fall down.

 

And after one of them died, why wouldn’t the other go in the Autodoc to tell their story, so they can nake sure this never happens again!

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