Would you wake someone up if you knew it could potentially kill them?
Jim Preston is forced to make that decision with only a robot therapist to help him decide in the movie “Passengers.”
Jim, played by Chris Pratt, is one of more than 5,000 passengers on Starship Avalon journeying to a new planet called Homestead II for a fresh start. All passengers enter a period of hibernation during their trip through space to ensure they arrive ageless. But Jim has the college-dreaded misfortune of waking up before his “alarm clock” goes off — ninety years too early.
At first, Jim tries everything to fix his hibernation pod, but eventually accepts his fate. To pass time he plays basketball and talks to a robot bartender named Arthur. Jim’s beard starts growing, showing the passage of time.
Jim is starved from human contact without even the Walden companionship of nature. He contemplates waking up one of the other passengers, Aurora Lane. Aurora, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a beautiful writer who Jim falls in love with through reading her blogs and eating breakfast beside her sleeping body. For the next few days he talks to Arthur about Aurora and tries to decide if he should go through with his desire to wake her up. From an outsider’s perspective, viewers are torn.
Finally, he makes the decision — he wakes Aurora. Like Jim, Aurora tries to go back to sleep right away and soon learns it is impossible. She thinks that her pod malfunctioned and is unaware that Jim broke it.
The movie takes a drive down a brief love path as the pair morph from friends to lovers. On Aurora’s birthday Jim plans to propose to her. But while Jim is gone, Arthur talks with Aurora and accidentally reveals that Jim woke her up.
As expected, Aurora is livid and will not speak to Jim. One night she comes into his room and starts hitting him over and over. She even brings a crowbar above his head but stops herself. Despite all he has done, Aurora still loves Jim.
The director sort of threw in a fourth character out of the blue, with crew member Gus Mancuso. This conveniently allows them to have access to the crew cabin. However, Gus’s time in the movie is brief as he has thousands of diseases and ends up dying. Before he dies he leaves angry Aurora with some wise advice on why Jim did what he did.
“The drowning man will always try to drag somebody down with him. It ain’t right, but the man is drowning,” Gus said.
By the time Gus dies, the ship is going haywire despite it being deemed the “unbreakable” ship. Elevators break, Arthur malfunctions, gravity is lost and temperatures rise. Despite their feud, Jim and Aurora must come together and save the ship.
Like typical science fiction movies, the tough guy saves the day by risking his life. There is a brief period where it seems like he may have died but Aurora hooks him up to a machine and all is well.
The movie wraps up with Jim telling Aurora there is good news and bad news. He found a pod that can put a person back into hibernation, but only one of them can use it. Now Aurora is the one with a tough decision to make.
To make matters harder, Jim finally proposes to Aurora. Aurora ultimately chooses to live out the rest of her life with Jim on Starship Avalon and trades her future of Homestead II.
More than 80 years pass and the rest of the crew finally wakes from their deep sleep. The blog Aurora left behind is read aloud as the passengers walk about the ship.
“You can’t get so hung up on where you’d rather be, that you forget to make the most of where you are,” Aurora said.
The film did a good job of staying simple and not becoming too unrealistic. It was interesting that they only had a cast of four people as well.