QUEZON City, Philippines (January 9) – Anyone with a basic grounding on astronomy and – I don’t know – physics knows that space travel takes a very long time. The distance between stars is measured by light-years – that is how many years light will take to reach that particular stellar object. And as we wannabe physics buff know – light is the fastest object in the universe.
That is why sci-fi films usually invoke the hibernation trope – in which passengers embarking on stellar travel undergo hibernation – so that they will reach their destination without suffering the ravages of time.
“Passengers” take this trope and imposes a very big “what-if”.
What if something wrong happens and you wake up early. Such an event is tantamount to being stranded in an isolated island. You have everything you need, you just don’t have anyone to interact with.
Before you continue, I warn you that the succeeding paragraphs will be full of spoilers.
And that is the problem encountered by James Preston – Chris Pratt’s character – when his hibernation pod malfunctioned due to cascade failure, resulting in him waking 90 years too early before reaching his destination in a journey that is supposed to take 120 years.
With only an android for company, James almost went crazy due to his year of isolation aboard the starship to the point where he even contemplated suicide.
At a very low point in his life, he noticed the beautiful Aurora Lane – Jennifer Lawrence’s character. After learning about her through the various logs available in the ship’s computer – James inevitably fell in love with her. And with his engineering skills, he knows that he can wake her up.
Hence came another dilemma. Remember, you are stranded in an isolated island with no one to interact with. Now, you have the power to strand another person with you. Will you do it? Is it even correct to do such a thing?
Even though “Passengers” is set in a future where travel between stars is possible – the film was still able to tackle issues that are currently resounding in our daily lives.
Issues like cyber-stalking taken to the extreme and the ethics of what James Preston did to Aurora.
People are divided, of course. Many say that what James did, dooming Aurora to the same fate is tantamount to murder. They also said that it is disturbingly similar to the cyberstalking phenomenon that went to far, usually to the point of victimizing the object of the cyberstalking.
Then there are those who agree with what James did. They understand that what James did was wrong but they also argue that James is under exceptional circumstances and that he should be forgiven for what he did. Finally, they argued that the film itself is an argument that human contact is not only a mere nicety, it is a basic necessity.
Who do you think is correct?
(written by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Vince Alvin Villarin)