Every once in a while a story comes along that steps outside the realm of mere entertainment and looks deep into the soul of man and raises the bar on human existence, such is the case with the movie PASSENGERS. The critics mostly hated it, which doesn’t necessarily mean it was bad. Good writing is able to identify morality at its best and uncover truly evil behavior. In a culture that has been turned on its head since the 1960’s, that is not as easy as it sounds.
If you intend to watch the movie and would prefer not to know the story line, then you should stop reading right now. As a story that identifies relationships as more valuable than personal gain, PASSENGERS is a winner. It is a love story, and apart from the adultery that takes place prior to marriage it has much good to say.
5,000 passengers embark on a 120 year journey in hibernation pods, but along the way they are struck and damaged severely by a meteor. One man, Jim, a mechanic, wakes up early and does not know why. He does come to realize that he will die on the ship and never reach his intended destination. After a year loneliness brings him to the brink of complete despair and suicide.
He is given a reason for living when he accidentally stumbles upon a woman’s pod. He reads about her, watches videos made by her, and begins to love who she is as a person. Against the conviction of his conscience that shouts to him the wrongness of bringing her out of hibernation, he does it anyway. It is at this point that the critics go crazy, in my opinion.
There is no denying the fact that what Jim does is very wrong and when Aurora finds out she screams, “You took my life.” The crew chief eventually also wakes up and when he finds out what Jim did, he cannot condone his actions. However, when confronted by Aurora’s indignation he responds, “What Jim did was wrong, but a drowning man will pull someone down to save himself. He is drowning.”
The twist comes in when we come to realize that Aurora was living an empty life, chasing a dream of writing a great book, set in her heart by her deceased father, by embarking on an adventure that no other writer has had. However, her own life has been empty and void of love because she has been closed off. She finds love in Jim and the two embrace each other in a very real and intimate way. Unfortunately, her love is turned to hate when she realized she was betrayed; the fullness that she felt was destroyed by a broken heart.
The plot gets exciting when they realize, as Aurora says, “So were stranded on a sinking ship.” The crew chief dies after first giving Jim his wrist band and access to areas previously denied, so that he can save the ship. Yet another twist develops when it takes both of them at the same time to stop the ship from blowing up. In other words, everyone would have died had not the both of them together prevented it. Jim of course could not have foreseen this reality and what he did was very wrong, but as circumstance would have it, it became necessary.
In a selfless act of courage and love, Jim gives his life to save Aurora. Aurora who deep down inside still loves Jim, wants the two of them to die together, but Jim says to her, “We can’t do that, there are 5,000 people on this ship.” He was acting in a truly selfless manner. As a good ending would have it, Aurora rescues Jim, places him in the auto-doc where he is resuscitated, and it becomes perfectly clear that her love for him is renewed.
After they bury the crew chief in space, Jim tells Aurora that he has discovered with the wrist ban he can use the auto-doc to place her in hibernation. She can complete her life plan, make it to the planet, and write her book. Her response comes in two statements, “But you will be alone.” To which he replies, “I’ve been alone before; I’ll be alright,” and “I’ll never see you again,” to which he replies, “I’ll come and visit.” She chooses to spend the remainder of her life on the ship with him, where in her words in the log she left behind, they built a wonderful life together.
MORAL OF THE STORY
- While getting stuck in space on a ship made of metal may seem horrible and it certainly has disadvantages to living on a planet, both are ships in space, the big difference being that the earth is made of dirt.
- Feeling betrayed by a spouse is not uncommon and it happens in the best of marriages every time one of the partners acts in a selfish and unloving manner. Such is inevitable in a fallen world.
- Forgiveness is the material by which truly great marriages and all relationships, in a sinful world, prosper.
- While not told in the story PASSENGERS, Jesus Christ is the only true source of lasting forgiveness.
- Self sacrifice, which can be observed in many ways on planet earth, is characteristic of those made in the image of God. The only thing lacking most of the time is the motive to glorify God by such an action. Such a motive is only developed in those who being born again, give their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord, repent of their sin, and trust in Him by faith.
- In the ultimate sense, relationships between people are never the means of true and lasting happiness on planet earth. Why? Because all people die. The only truly lasting happiness comes from being brought into a right relationship with God. So that after this body dies or we are caught up in the air at Jesus’ return and judgment, the faith that we exercise is realized in eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hollywood can make a good move, but without Christ it will always fall woefully short