Could you imagine to be on a ship to another planet or even another galaxy? Did you ever dream of leaving Earth and go to space?
Source: Official YouTube trailer
I am fascinated by space and love everything related to it. Although not my main focus, I did also study some space science during school and university, and really love to watch documentaries and other movies related to space. And yes, once I dreamed of leaving earth and going to space - and even traveling to another planet.
When I did the calculation my euphoria was chastened. It would take more than a decade to travel to the "outer rim" of our planetary system. And one of the closest stars, Alpha Centauri, is a 18,000 years journey. So right now, it is very unlikely, that we could make it.
Passengers - The Movie
Passengers is an example, why you shouldn't. Even if the technology is advanced enough to travel faster - and 120 years are still a very long time - a lot can go wrong. Hibernation is the way to go for such long journeys. Another would be to get and raise children, so that your grand-grand-grand-...-children could arrive on the "colony".
Source: My Netflix account
The movie feature a scenario where with this one ship 5,000 passengers and a few hundred crew members travel for 120 years to a colony planet called Homestead II. Due to technical issues - a meteor damages the ship - one of the hibernation chambers is damaged and the Passenger James "Jim" Preston gets woken up after 30 years. 90 year too early.
Then starts a long and painful journey. He gets to know, that he is the only person, who woke up way to early.
Being the only person awake, he tries to find out what to do and if there is a possibility to change his fate. Because once awake, he is not able to get back to hibernation by himself.
He tries to get to the crew and to communicate with earth, but he has no success.
The only "person" he has to talk to, is Arthur, a bar keeper android.
The big struggle starts, when he finds Aurora Lane, another passenger. He starts to do research on her, watches her videos and reads her books. And more and more he falls in love with her. The problem: She is still in hibernation. Since he learned how the hibernation pods work, he is able to wake her up. But he faces the moral dilemma, whether he can do it, since this would also ruin her life. He discusses the question with Arthur, who isn't a great help, and finally decides to do it.
When she wakes up and realizes the problem, she suffers the same problems, Jim did when he woke up - except for suicide attempts. Jim tells Arthur, that he shouldn't tell Aurora, that Jim woke her up, since he wants to do it himself.
After some time, Aurora resignates and tries to make the best out of situation. And Jimmy and Aurora are getting to like each other and even fall in love with each other. It even comes to the point, when Jim is trying to propose to her - at a date when they are at Arthurs bar. When faced with the question of secrets, Jim tells, that both Aurora and he, do not have secrets in front of each other - so Arthur thinks, that Jim already told Aurora about waking her up. But he hasn't.
While Jim is preparing for the proposal, Arthur and Aurora are talking about Jim waking her up.
Of course, she is angry and devastated. Jim is resonsible for her misery. Because of his selfishness, she is not going to live her life and her dream. Later she even goes as far as accusing him of murder - which is understandable. This incident leads to the complete destruction of their relationship. Aurora even tries to kill Jim one time.
Still Jim is trying to make the best out of it and winning her back. He wants her to understand, why he acted like he did. He even plants a tree to make the starship more livable. But she is not really able to forgive him.
This starts to change, when deck chief officer Gus Mancuso wakes up. This is also due to failures in his hibernation pod. Also more and more systems have failures or get even destroyed. So the three try to find a solution and check the system. They get to know, that if continuing the problems will lead to the complete failure of the mission and death of everyone on ship.
At one point, that gravity fails and Aurora almost gets killed inside the swimming pool, since she has problems to get out of the water.
Source: Official YouTube Trailer
But Gus is really sick, most likely from the problems with his hibernation pod. It doesn't take to long until he dies from his sickness and the two are on their own again.
Facing countless difficulties, that get worse with time, they realize, that they have to work together or both - and with them all passengers and crew members - are going to die. And searching ever system they find the problems: A meteor hit the ship and although indestructable, some of the walls do have wholes and their fusion reactor is critically damaged. They cannot fix it from the inside since a door is locked. So Jim decides to go outside to open the door. Aurora, who noticed, what is at stake and that she has feelings for Jim, isn't happy with the idea, but agrees sincce there seems to be no other solution.
When Jim arrives at the door, he notices, that the door doesn't stay open on its own and he has to stay there to keep it open, so the reactor could start to work again. But this is putting him into life-threathing danger, since he is going to face the heat of the reactor. Aurora also understands the situation and wants to abort the mission, but Jim have's his way and they manage to get the reactor back to work, but as expected Jim gets almost killed in the process and his tether gets cut, leaving Jim in open space without any connection to the ship. In the last moment Aurora is able to catch the end of Jim's tether and abe to bring his clinical dead body back on the ship. She is able to resuscitate him.
Source: YouTube Passengers (2016 movie), trailer
Jim finds out, that with the captain override it is possible to put one person back to hibernation in the single Autodoc and offers Aurora the option to go back to hibernation. After considering it, she declines and lives her life with him. She accepts his proposal and they live their life on the Avalon and also die there. When the other passengers wake up around 88 years after the happenings of the movie, they find the ship in a completely different state with many trees and some animals around, while in an overlayed voice, Aurora tells their story.
I did like the movie in total. The pictures are amazing and I do like the acting from Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. The episode with Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburne) feels a little weak and more like plot convenience. Also some other scenes are not really making sense - especially the scene when Pratt is keeping the door open and after that. Or when they look directly into a star (or travel so close to one).
But if you can live with some problems, the movie is still a good one.
The movies shines a new light on the space travel idea. Even if it would be possible to travel such huge distances, there could still happen a lot, that we probably cannot think of. Space is unpredictable and if we every start such a mission, we really have to plan with the unthinkable.
I don't think that we will be able to travel to another galaxy for the next century or even more. I would find it reasonable, that we could make it to Mars within this decade and maybe do manned interplanetary flights to some other planets within our planetary part of the solar system towards the later mid to end of this century. But those are very small distances in the universe. Maybe we will never find another habitable planet similar to Earth, that is within reach of our travel abilities. So it is important to take care of the one we have.