Passengers (2016)

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Passengers made me sad!

This is about the 2016 American science fiction romance film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.


I didn't like the ending because it's sad! Very romantic, of course, but not like You've Got Mail!

See Wikipedia for the plot of Passengers (2016 film), but here's a synopsis of the last part of the film:

After they manage to stop the ship from being destroyed by the collision with the asteroid that caused the malfunction that awakened the Chris Pratt character, the two main characters are able to live out their lives. We don't see it, because the film skips to the arrival of the ship at its destination 90 years later, and the main characters have die of old age in the meantime. Yes, they were in love and they spend their years together in happiness. We don't see this, of course. It's reported at the end of the film.

"How romantic!" sighs the romanticist. "How tragic!" wails the pessimist.

But besides this, I have objections. See below.

Plot Objection: Use the Autodoc!

I've worked out that they didn't have to die before the end of the journey. The autodoc on the ship had the capability of being used as a makeshift hibernator. Let's assume that the autodoc could be activated/reactivated over and over again. And if they used it properly, they could have staggered their occupancy of the thing, like taking turns for a year each, with a break during which they could be together, they might have been able to stretch their lives out long enough to reach their destination! The remainder of the journey was going to take 90 years, and they could each have spent half of that in hibernation, with a short interval of togetherness. So, assuming these two were about 30 years old, that means they could have arrived at 75 years old! But they would have arrived together, at least.

Plot Objection: Fix the Hibernation Pods

The female character is a journalist, so she's useless for this purpose, but the male character is a mechanical engineer. Why the heck couldn't he fix the damaged hibernation pods? He broke one of them himself, to get the female character out of hers, so it isn't like he didn't have a idea how they work. The dying ship's engineer has given him the master key to the ship, and presumably the ship has to have equipment on board to fix problems if they crop up. Why couldn't the mechanical engineer fix the darned pods? Maybe he tried and couldn't, but we're not told anything about this.

Premise Objection: Ship is not instantly destroyed

How on earth is it that a collision with an asteroid at a significant fraction of the speed of light doesn't instantly destroy the ship? Even with the shielding equipment provided? The energies involved in such a collision are astronomical, but the most immediate result is to cause a malfunction in one, just ONE, hibernation pod? Unbelievable.

Premise Objection: Life Expectancy

Leaving aside the question of repairing problems with the hibernation pods, and considering that at this far future date people should have a life expectancy far in excess of today's humans, why couldn't the character live 90 more years aboard ship? Don't they have an autodoc for fixing what ails them? Our two characters should have been able to live to the end of the journey even without playing games with the autodoc!

Premise Objection: Criminally Negligent Ship Design

The ship is an emergency nightmare waiting to happen.

Off it goes on a 120 year journey with no apparent provision for unforeseen emergencies.

What's the longest period of time we can expect a complex machine to continue working in our day without the need for maintenance or repair? 20 years? 10 years? Fat chance. There's no word on how far in the future this trip occurs, but if they can launch a spaceship on a 120 year journey and routinely expect that it will work perfectly the entire time without undergoing some form of maintenance or even having human supervision, this journey is taking place hundreds of years in the future. We have to assume that the engineers who designed it have enormous experience in designing space hardware and making certain that their ships will reach their destinations.

Yet the ship has no spare hibernation pods. No repair facilities to fix malfunctioning pods. There's an AI to tend the bar, but no provision exists to wake a capable crewman up if an exception occurs. Insane. This is Titanic-level lack of foresight.

What idiot designed this ship?