Passengers got a lot of posters back when it came out but they did a good job because I really didn’t know much about the film. It’s definitely not a big alien invasion sci-fi so don’t go in expecting that. It’ more of a quiet title about finding out if you can live by yourself or if you would go crazy. This is the kind of film where there’s a lot to say but ultimately I don’t think the execution was very good. The main character holds this one back a lot because he makes some massive mistakes and I wouldn’t say that the ending is very satisfying either.
The premise here is that a bunch of people decided to voluntarily go into stasis for close to 100 years so they could wake up on a new planet and start a new life for themselves. The spaceship they’re on is super safe so they’re guaranteed not to wake up early. Well Jim wakes up around 88 years early unfortunately. The ship has enough supplies to last him for the rest of his life so technically he can absolutely survive on his own but at the same time but now he’s lonely. So he wakes up another passenger named Aurora because he’s hoping to marry her but can’t let her know that he intentionally woke her up and pretends it was a glitch. Can he keep this pretense up and won’t it completely wreck the romance?
So right off the bat Jim looks really bad here. There’s just no excuse for waking someone up. You’ve just ended that person’s life because she won’t be able to reconnect with society now. She is doomed to only have this guy for company and it’s not like he has the most selfless of intentions. There’s just no excusing this and it massively hurts his character.
Jim did last a year or two on his own before waking her up but even then he should have kept on going. The ship has all kinds of entertainment like basketball and dancing, not to mention a sentient robot that can talk to you. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has books and other things as well. Will you get bored from time to time? Sure, absolutely that will happen without a doubt but at the same time that’s just how the ball bounces.
Now, there is one other option and that is to wake everyone up. Just explain that the pod opened up early so you woke everyone else up to help out. Jim wanted to wake up the pilot and the tech crew but unfortunately they are in a different room from the passengers and so far it’s been impossible to open. So way I see it you wake everyone up or nobody. At least with everyone up then you can all figure out a way to open up the door and teamwork can go a long way. With just two people you’re not going to go far and of course it’s just super selfish. Survive on your own if you can’t make that call.
There is one thing the film doesn’t touch on that feels important though. This ship was stocked with the expectation that the crew would be asleep for the entire journey so in theory there aren’t going to be a ton of food supplies here. Certainly not enough for everybody so that’s another thing to consider if everyone is woken up. At the same time, even for one person you’re probably going to run out.
The original plan was to wake everyone up 1 month before arrival. So that’s one month of food for 5200+ people. That’s 15,600 meals and you can assume that they would have stocked some extra so maybe 20,000? Now lets look at Jim. If he has to live out the rest of his life here and I dunno, he’s probably late twenty’s to early thirty’s? I’m sure they said his age but I forget. We’ll assume about 27 as a good middle ground and with no threats or bad food to worry about lets say he lives to 87 just go keep the numbers round. That’s 60 years of 3 meals a day. 365 X 3 X 60 = 65,7000 meals. Lets now say he dies early at 67 just because. Then that’s still 43,800 meals. If Jim even lives for twenty years he will exceed the amount of food prepared for the whole ship.
So now we’ve voided the only reason for waking everyone up because they’re all dead either way. You can’t survive a month on no food so if they wake up and no food is there then they’re a goner. So again you have to wake everyone up and keep it moving. Learn how to create your own food but in a ship like this I wonder how possible that is. We see a garden near the end so I guess that could work. I have my doubts though and it’s the one glaring hole that I felt the film didn’t dive into. It’s not like it’s the point of the film but it’s worth thinking about since a huge part of the film is about deciding to wake up Aurora or not.
Well, I’ve already talked about Jim enough so we can end it there. He’s just not a good character. Meanwhile Aurora was reasonable enough. At first she tries to come up with lots of ways to escape but Jim has given up so completely that he won’t help at all. You’d think he would at least be interested in hearing her out a bit in case she thinks of something. It’s not unheard of that someone could think of an idea that you couldn’t right?
Naturally the romance falls absolutely flat here though. You just can’t root for it at all since the whole thing is based on a lie. When she finds out the truth she is naturally upset but is basically told not to blame Jim much and there are no other options so you know they’ll end up together. It’s one of the annoying things about the film. I feel like you don’t forget a big lie like that so they should never get together. Make them friends or something and she takes the high road but a romance absolutely does not work. Easily the worst aspect of the film without a doubt.
The deception just can’t be walked back particularly because it’s possible he would have never told her if the robot didn’t rat him out. Even the scenes that should be charming and fun have a darker edge to them as a result since you’re rooting for Jim’s downfall. It’s why Arthur was a fun robot since I absolutely think he sabotaged Jim on purpose. That was my interpretation of the scene at least. That little smirk of his before talking told me everything that I needed to know. The fact that there is a robot here who can talk is yet another reason why Jim should have been satisfied. Their talks were reasonable.
We also get one of the crew named Gus who shows up briefly but he’s basically just here for some exposition and to open up the crew hangers. I would have cut him out of the film entirely to be honest because he really serves no purpose and doesn’t have great advice either. I would have been more upset with him if I was Aurora and his inclusion in the film ultimately doesn’t really change much.
We do get some danger and action at the end of the film so it’s not purely calm the whole time, just for most of it. The climax isn’t bad, there’s not a whole lot you can do in space to be honest but the visuals still look good. We even almost got a quick fight with Arthur going crazy and waving that knife of his.
Overall, Passengers is a film that really can’t survive the main character. I think there’s a lot of promise here if you just change up the story so the main two wake up. Yes, the romance would still be super cheesy but at least it wouldn’t be starting them off on the wrong foot so you have a better time believing in it. Romance is the main focus of this film so when that falls away then everything does along with it. Remake the film with that one change and you’re looking at a world of difference.
I really enjoyed this movie. The plot was thought provoking and the two stars had excellent chemistry I am glad both were single 🙂 The bartender was very interesting, too.
That bartender definitely had a lot of fun there. I think he intentionally sold out the lead near the end!