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Headscratchers / Passengers (2016)

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  • At the end, when Jim is hurled out of the vent shaft and floats towards the engine, he throws the metal door at the engine which pushes him the other way to safety. Is this how it would work out in space or is this another case of Artistic License – Physics?
    • It could work, but probably wouldn't. All (Non-theoretical) Space propulsion works via Newton's Third Law: 'I fling something really hard that way, and the reaction force pushes me in the opposite direction.' Ion thrusters, rockets, RCS jets, VASIMR, all work that same way, and throwing the door would too. There's a number of problems however: The door's much lighter than he is, so the reaction force is going to impart much less speed to him than the door would end up with. It's also almost impossible to more than vaguely control the force vector, which if it isn't PERFECTLY aligned with his center of mass will induce some amount of spin (this is the main reason the 'thruster gun' NASA experimented with in the Gemini Program was rapidly dropped.) Additionally, any force used inducing spin doesn't help in pushing away from the ship's engine, reducing the force level even further. Finally, and specific to this case, the Avalon's Engine appeared to be on, and that means it was accelerating towards him, negating even more of the speed he gained by throwing the door. It's POSSIBLE (and actually fairly realistically depicted, in that he DOES start spinning and ends up flying off into space), but works better than it probably would in reality.

  • It's mentioned in passing that with Gus' armband they had the ability to wake up crew. That was Jim's plan all along but apparently he did not follow up on it after the events of the movie. Was it because they weren't sure if the awoken crew could solve their problem, dooming even more people in the process?
    • The Avalon likely only had food and drink supplies (assuming they weren't synthesized) for 5,000 in the last three months of the voyage, when the colonists would be upskilling for colonising the planet. Taking 4,997 people out decades early would waste those resources. Who knows how many resources Jim and Aurora used after living their lives out on the Avalon? The trees they planted on the main deck would have helped to produce oxygen and grow some food, but that was supplies earmarked for the colony world.
      • Jim's idea wasn't to wake up all passengers but maybe one technician who could send them (and himself) back to sleep. Your argument doesn't explain why this plan was aborted.
      • You would still need to identify which technician could repair the hibernation pod, which medical person could administer the drugs safely, and you would need to consider the possibility of having to awaken other people in the event that the ship does not immediately support the ability to manufacture the chemicals to put people back to sleep.

  • Why, on a ship with over 5,000 people, is there only one autodoc? Did the people who built that ship really think that over the course of four months and with over 5,000 people, there would never be more one person at a time suffering from something that only an autodoc could fix?
    • Doylist answer: Because both Jim and Aurora could go back to sleep at the end if there were two. Watsonian answer: Probably the same level of arrogance that led them not to program in a way to reactivate the sleep pods. The ship is more than a bit reminiscent of the "unsinkable" Titanic, so it's possible the writers were going for a historical parallel. (Maybe there aren't many illnesses that require the auto doc, either. Or they're really expensive to make.)
    • The autodoc seems to be a rather low-key equipment, since it only provides basic tasks and asks for supervision by medical personnel all the time (implying that such personnel would be abound during the cruise). The autodoc is most likely just an emergency equipment or a regular tool for the medical staff. That in mind, it is possibly just there to check on the crew coming out of hibernation, which will be the only ones awake for one month. Once the medical staff is in action, they might power up the medical station with more elaborate equipment to serve thousands of potential patients. The autodoc is simply the first-aid-kit which is the only equipment ready-to-use at all times.
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    • Maybe the autodoc was only used for diagnosis and surgery. Beyond that, anyone else who was sick enough to be hospitalized was given a regular bed. It's also likely everyone who was accepted to go Homestead II was in very good health overall.
    • Also, why didn't Jim and Aurora simply Take a Third Option and share the autodoc ? We can clearly see, after Jim has been revived, that the autodoc is bigger than the cryopods, big enough for two people of average build to fit inside. Sure, they would be short on space but it's not like they would mind given their relationship at that point.
      • The hibernation pods, at least, are more than just the bed and cover. Remember all the complex stuff that had to disconnect from Jim when he woke up? (It's part of the reason neither of them could just lie back down and go back to sleep.) Unlikely the Autodoc would be equipped with that stuff for 2 people at once.
    • Maybe the autodoc was only for more serious injuries and illnesses. And there may have been some doctors and nurses amongst the 528 crew members that would take care of minor ailments in the conventional manner.
    • Considering how we never see the autodoc successfully treat someone's injury or illness, it's anyone's guess how quickly it'd be able to deal with a heart attack, broken arm, appendicitis, etc. Could be that the ship only needed one autodoc because it only takes the thing a few minutes to treat a patient, so even in a worst-case scenario where several people fell ill simultaneously, the amount of time they'd spend waiting their turn for treatment won't make a difference.

  • OK then, what about a fourth option: hibernate a year at a time, each. Take turns, spending one day together or so every year, then switch off. Age 44 years each and there's plenty of time left together when they get to Homestead.
    • Maybe they did. The ending is ambiguous as to their fate.
    • "Plenty of time"? Assuming Aurora is the same age as Jennifer Lawrence, aging 44 years would have her pushing 70.
      • That's still a good 30 years they could expect. And considering the future setting it's not out of the question life expectancy is even longer.
    • We saw what happened to Jim after a year. He nearly killed himself from the isolation. Aurora said that she was terrified of being alone too. Having to do it over and over again would be subjecting themselves to a life of a few days of happiness and a year of absolute misery, loneliness, and depression. That's not living. It's just surviving. And given Jim's reaction near the beginning, it may not even be that. Aurora may also not trust Jim to wake her up for her turn.

  • If the ship carries spare parts for every piece of equipment, why can't Jim the Gadgeteer Genius build himself a second autodoc?
    • Probably some "proprietary" software that can only be loaded in from the HQ. They did say that hibernation data was classified.
      • Jim and Aurora have the entire rest of their lives worth of time on their hands. They could learn how to reverse-engineer the software couldn't they?
      • Not necessarily. Even if in the future, Programming 101 is the equivalent of an Associates Degree today, that doesn't mean either of them have an aptitude for it. If they have any sort of coding background, they would have to learn from scratch, and they might not have How-To Manuals on board for learning how to code. Also, they would not be able to properly QA it outside of 1 of them getting into it.
    • Because one high-tech ultra-fast medical appliance for 5000 to use for four months probably isn't really all that unreasonable. The likelihood of it needing to be used for large numbers of people or for extended periods was probably considered and brushed off. Remember that the ship is supposed to be disaster-proof and idiot-proof, it took something roughly the size of the ship itself made of solid rock hitting it to start causing problems.

  • A very, very long space travel is understandable, but does it justify building a ship that flies itself completely on autopilot with no human supervision until the ETA to destination is four months? The film demonstrated why this is a very bad idea from since the start of the movie. With no one to plot the course to evade the asteroid belt, a big one crashes into the ship and damages the systems, awakening Jim and kickstarting the plot. Also, Jim has to live with the A.I. Is a Crapshoot situation that provides little to no help during his stay on Avalon. It's almost a borderline Suicidal Overconfidence that Homestead would trust in their ship's capability to fly alone through the vast space for a very long duration of time without expecting anything bad to happen to it.
    • To be fair, Reality Is Unrealistic. Space is quite empty, even asteroid belts, aside from the very thin and tenuous interstellar medium. An Asteroid Thicket in interstellar space would also be essentially devoid of illumination and impossible to spot from a planetary system. Sure, contingency plans should have been implemented, but it's easy to see why the designers would think they would be unlikely to need any.
    • Again, you're brushing off just how disasterproof that ship really was. The asteroid it hit was as big or bigger than the ship itself, and it still let only a couple of pieces of debris through. The characters say over and over, this is a thing that's never happened before, even though apparently colony worlds are a common thing in this setting and there are ships like this running back and forth between them all the time.
      • Except, in reality no engineer would ever say "Well, this ship is disasterproof, so let's not worry if a disaster happens." That's one of the things we learned from Titanic: never assume something is disasterproof. Even if you think the chances of hell freezing over, pigs flying, North and South Korea reuniting and Elvis returning to life all at the same time are more likely than the chance the ship will run into problems, you always have a backup plan. And then have a backup plan to that backup plan.
      • I think you're struggling to resolve some idealistic view of engineers as prescient tech-gods with the reality that not everything can be planned for and eventually you run out of redundancies, and an event you couldn't possibly have planned for can still happen.
    • Even ignoring outside influences, internal system problems would still happen. Machines would eventually break. Code is going to go bad somewhere. With so many moving parts, inevitably something is going to fall apart. Logistically, it'd make more sense to have a skeleton crew wake up on the regular to verify diagnostics and do a once-over of the ship.

  • We see that (when it's functioning correctly, anyway) the ship is able to identify and repair itself using the small droids. So how is it that Jim and Aurora are able to turn a major portion of the ship into a garden? Wouldn't the ship have identified the fact that this was all out of place and tried to clean it up? The original tree that was planted was created by Jim ripping up metal plates and filling it with dirt; considering the ship is programmed to keep itself spotless it seems strange that it would simply allow the main shopping area to be covered in dirt and plants.
    • One of the robots was carrying produce in the last scene, presumably Jim or Aurora figured out how to reprogram them in the preceding 60-70 years.
    • Jim spends a long time plotting out where everything below the deck is before he plants that tree. Presumably he did the first one in such a way that it didn't compromise any systems and thus send a "Repair this" signal, and they probably built from there.

  • Why is breakfast restricted based on which level of wealth you are, but nothing else? Jim's able to drink unlimited amounts of liquor, eat unlimited amounts of gourmet food, and take unlimited amounts of raw materials for whatever use he pleases, but he isn't allowed to get a cup of espresso because he isn't "gold level"?
    • Jim mentions that the head company behind it all continues to bill you once you land for all the things you eat on the ship, which makes sense, but once again... if that's the case, why is breakfast off-limits?
    • My understanding was that Jim's used his skills as an engineer to hack or otherwise subvert his way around the usual protocols, giving him unlimited access to luxuries. Breakfast (for whatever reason) might've just been managed by a system he couldn't reach. Alternatively, it's possible that breakfast is the only "mandatory" meal of the day, so to speak, so it's "freely" included with the tickets and depends only on the "level". Everything else costs money, which might theoretically still being billed - it's just that Homestead doesn't seem to have counted on passengers waking up mid-trip. Jim and Aurora may have garnered a bill of millions on dollars somewhere, but why would they care? They'll never arrive at their destination and never have to pay it. Might as well enjoy the decadence.
    • It's also possible (because the idea of the other stuff costing money is probably right) that the supplies for the breakfast stuff are more limited than the other items. Large amounts of liquor are probably easy to store, and it seems the ship can grow and maintain its own relatively limited population of animals and vegetables, but the eggs and whatnot for instant breakfasts might be more limited. Plus it's a way for them to try and urge people to buy more expensive tickets. (Which the company certainly shouldn't be blamed for. Aurora sneers about how much they must be making off of the colonists but doesn't seem to consider how much that ship must have cost them.)
    • The ship is essentially a giant traveling hotel. Complementary breakfast is probably an automatic inclusion in the ticket price - content to be dictated by your travel grade - whereas other meals are individually charged to the passenger's account. It's just like any Real Life hotel that comps a breakfast, then offers lunch and dinner for separate purchase at its restaurant. Jim paid for the budget ticket, so he gets the budget hotel-caliber comp.
    • On a related note, if he really hated the budget-breakfast menu, why couldn't he order a double portion of food with another meal, and then save some of it for next morning? The autochef's repertoire was presumably extensive enough to allow some lunch and dinner options that'd be reasonable breakfast fare (yogurt, sausage, hard-boiled eggs), and a suite as fancy as the one he broke into is bound to have the equivalent of a mini-fridge and microwave. For that matter, why couldn't he order bot-delivered room service each morning, and charge it to the account of the room's intended occupant rather than his own? Or, heck, just sleep in and skip breakfast: it's not like he's got any morning appointments he's going to miss.
    • If the Avalon is modeled after cruise ships, this means that meals in the main dining room would be included in the price of each passenger's ticket with choices limited by fare tier. As on real cruises, they'd have to pay extra for everything consumed outside of the main dining room, creating additional income for the operator.
    • We only see breakfast restricted (and it's by ticket class, not "wealth level") but it's reasonable to assume that the other meals eaten in the cafeteria are similarly restricted. Drinking at the bar and eating at restaurants would be covered by billable cost so he could reasonably go that route, but it's likely that the level of credit allowed for such things is limited as well. We don't see him indulging in higher grade stuff until after Gold-class Aurora wakes up, and it's reasonable to assume that she's got more open access to stuff like the French bistro.

  • If Homestead are able to create highly sophisticated androids like Arthur to serve as very convincing bartenders is there any reason that they couldn't create android mechanics or other personnel? To cover the areas the smaller robots can't manage themselves.
    • Repairing/maintaining machines is a lot more delicate/complex job than mixing drinks — the type of thing that might just not be possible without a brain that thinks like a human.
    • To be honest, Arthur isn't even that sophisticated. Remember Jim's first interaction with him? Arthur reaches the conclusion that Jim cannot exist in front of him. Then serves him a drink. Arthur isn't really capable of higher logic or real problem solving beyond basic programming and spitting out fairly generic "wise words".
      • He does seem to have developed a little by the end of the movie, but that's after multiple years of almost constant activation and continued interaction, which he probably wouldn't see under normal circumstances.

  • From what we've seen, the ship operates on the hard sci-fi principle of 'accelerate as hard as possible towards your destination, flip end-for-end halfway, then decelerate for the latter half of the journey'. The Avalon also has Deflector Shields projected from a long spire at the bow of the ship to defend against debris, but it seems to lack such a structure at the stern. So when it was in the deceleration phase, how was it supposed to protect itself from collisions? It would still be moving at a significant portion of c, and any debris in their path would tear through the ship like tissue paper. From what we've seen, the shield forms a sort of dome or cone covering the main body of the ship, but doesn't extend all the way around the ship in a complete 'bubble'. Kudos to the writers for thinking of such a precaution in the first place, but it just bothers me.
    • Maybe the shield is a bubble, but only the front end is glowing since it glows brighter when it deflects stuff. The back end isn't glowing since it's not deflecting anything. Alternately, there's a back-end shield that will extend past the engine when the ship flips around, but it's retracted and we never see it deployed.
      • Most likely - that's usually how these shields are depicted in sci-fi. Alternatively, they might decelerate by just reversing the thrusters, which is also how they usually do it in sci-fi.
      • That was a question I had as well. Also, the final shot of the ship is showing her traveling bow-first as she approaches the planet. Wouldn't orbital insertion require even more deceleration and, therefore, the ship to still be flipped over?
    • the Avalon's engine "nozzle" is portrayed as a ring full of energy, so it's sci-fi tech that doesn't exist in real life. Given that, it's easy to say that the ring engine can run in either direction so the ship doesn't need to flip its axis to decelerate. A turboprop plane today can reverse its engine thrust direction by turning the blades while the engine continues to rotate in the same direction, so the Avalon can obviously do the same.

  • A question from someone who hasn't seen the film yet (and quite honestly won't be anytime soon) but has read enough reviews to understand the basic storyline: If the idea is that the ca 5000 people on board will wake up four months before arriving at their destination but Pratt and Lawrence wake up ninety years to soon, is there enough food for them to eat? I gather that the ship has restaurants but is there enough food there to keep two people (and possibly their children?) alive for what could be as much as six or seven decades? And even if there is, will there be enough left for the other 5000+ people to eat between the time they wake up and the time they reach their destination or will hundreds of them starve before the ship docking? Since I haven't seen the film this is not a point of criticism on my part, merely curiosity.
    • 5,000 people x four months = 20,000 person-months. 70 years of 12 months = 840 months x two people = 1,680 person-months. 20,000-1,680= 18,320. 18,320 / 4 = enough food remaining for 4,580 people in that last four months. In other words, the ship's supplies could easily feed the two of them for life, at most some of the passengers will need to sleep a bit longer but with any luck the crew who wake up a month before them would be able to override the set waking schedule.
      • What about when you count their children though, should they have them? I mean wouldn't that ultimately be too much?
      • Jim and Aurora might opt not to have any children, if only so they wouldn't damn them to a similar fate of being trapped on a ship for most of their life.
    • Jim and Aurora also eventually start to grow their own food, possibly because they realize that exact problem. They use the ship's stocks of plants to turn the main concourse into a garden, the majority of which would be edible, since the plants are meant for colonizing a new world.
    • Or the other passengers will have to live on slightly tighter rations for 4 months. Maybe they won't get the lap of luxury trip they paid for, but they'll easily survive.
    • And finally, the assumption that the ship carries exactly enough food for 21300 person-months (you forgot the crew and their extra month) is just that: an assumption. The Avalon has a fair bit of spares, so there's probably room for "spare food" in there somewhere.
    • The on-board time is designed as a club vacation cruise, so there will be generous food supplies (otherwise it wouldn't make sense to have a la carte restaurants on board). Plus, their destination is a frontier world colony, so any surplus food won't be wasted. And they have cargo bays stacked with all kind of equipment for colonists (including a garden of agricultural sample specimen), so it would be odd to assume they forgot to include provisions for their settlers.
    • On a colony world anything could happen, there could be a harsh winter or soil conditions haven't been properly tested. Getting used to learner rations could be a good way to anticipate bad harvests or tough conditions. We don't know how extensive the testing was, and based on the time it's taking the Avalon to reach the colony world a probe may not have taken comprehensive enough tests.

  • So, they have realistic looking holograms, Turing capable AI and ridiculously human robots, yet their best form of entertainment is 'Dance off'?
    • The AI's not particularly Turing capable, nor is it all that ridiculously human. A large part of the point of Arthur is that he's just slightly Uncanny Valley.
    • Dance Off could be a way for the colonists to keep fit between the time they are woken up and when they land on the planet to settle the colony proper. It keeps them moving and engaged while not taking up too much space, and promotes hand-eye co-ordination, something to keep the mind active as well.
    • Also, the movie showed weightlifting and boxing equipment, and they also shared time on a basketball court, in a movie theater and in a swimming pool. Perhaps Dance Off is just something that caught Jim's fancy.
    • He probably enjoyed the interaction inherent in the 'Dance off' program more than the solitude of swimming or lifting weights. The guy spent a year with nobody to talk to but a robot bartender; dancing with holograms afforded the same illusion of human contact. Same deal for the basketball sim.

  • Either the writers messed up their calculations for the travel time or something funky is going on with the course/speed. The laser delivered message to Earth is said to take 19 years to get there, i.e. they are 19 light years from Earth (and it has taken 30 years of travel to get there). The return signal will take 36 years, i.e. they will receive it 36 light years from Earth, but that means in the 55 years that the reply would take they only got 17 lights further from Earth.
    • One way to explain it would be a very sharp turn round Arcturus, but why? If the ship can travel at half light speed by itself what benefit is there from going a long way out of its way to get a slingshot. If you consider a direct path being the long side of a triangle and Arcturus being at the opposite angle, then most of the benefit of the slingshot would be used getting the ship pointed in the right direction rather than increasing the speed.
    • When I first saw the scene, I didn't do the math, but I assumed there was a joke in there about the long time it takes to get a reply from a customer service e-mail. If 55 years is way longer than it should take for the message to get to Earth and back at light speed, I would still attribute it to that. The Homestead Company must have a lot of customer service issues, after all...
      • The problem is that the reply should take much longer. I estimate that if the Avalon is travelling at half the speed of light it should take more than 70 years to receive a reply.
      • To clarify that last point for anyone who has trouble with the math: Yes, the ship is travelling at half the speed of light, but the laser that sends the message is travelling at the speed of light. So it takes 19 years to get to Earth and — assuming they formulate a reply within a few months — 19 more years on top of that for the reply to reach the point where the message was sent, for a total of 38 years, leaving an additional 14 years unaccounted for. HOWEVER! At this point you need to remember that the ship is not stationary, it's been moving all during that time. In 38 years it will have travelled an additional 19 light-years away, meaning that the reply message has to travel another 19 years to catch up to it. Only then it has again moved 9.5 light-years away and so on. Eventually it will catch up, but not for many more decades than what was stated in the film, as the above troper points out. Only what the above troper failed to realize is that the ship's speed is not a constant. Somewhere in that time frame it must begin to decelerate as it approaches its destination, so the reply message catches up to it faster than they thought. Potentially in a time frame completely consistent with what they provide, making this an awesome case of Fridge Brilliance.
      • Relativistic effects are also significant at the velocities at which they are traveling.
    • If they got a boost from a structure in the solar system then they would need to start the deceleration more than half way there.

  • A minor headscratcher: the ship is designed around the pods being foolproof, and everyone is meant to be asleep during the entire trip until 4 months out. Why does the ship instruct Jim and Aurora to go to the viewing area to see the planetary body they slingshot around when no one should be up yet to view that?
    • Wondered the same thing. So far the only thing I've been able to come up with is that at some point the company conceived of the idea of making the sleeping pods actually able to accept passengers again after letting them out, turning the voyage from one long sleep into several with breaks in between. The company eventually decided that rehibernation facilities were too expensive to build into the ship (or that putting passengers through multiple instances of hibernation sickness was bad for morale) and chucked the idea, but some of the original programming for "points of interest" still made it into the OS.
    • The way the Avalon seems to be run is that everything is running at all times: AI, points-of-interest announcements, robot bartenders, a pool that doesn't need to be filled but is anyway, etc. Basically, they flip all the switches to "On" and then send the boat on its way even though almost all of it will be on standby for 120 years. So, on this voyage and on every other, the computer has been announcing these things... to an empty ship. (Why not? It costs them literally nothing.) The only reason we know that is because, this time, someone was un-hibernated enough to hear it.
    • The ship could detect that passengers were up and about and followed a pre-set program. That the passengers are awake early wouldn't register as a problem since it didn't know how to react.
      • Alternatively, this sort of thing has occurred 1-2 times before for some reason, but the crew has an easy cover story of saying that the person died just after waking up and then burying the evidence. These sort of features were left in so that if it happened again ..... well, draw your own conclusions.
    • Possibly Avalon had made such observational flybys on its way out of the solar system, allowing a few top-tier passengers to gawk at Jupiter or Saturn on their outward voyage before joining the low- and mid-grade passengers in hibernation. Jim found out about this at some point, and instructed the ship's systems to clue him in if it passed near anything worth looking at.

  • Homestead was stated to have made 8 quadrillion on a distant planet. How does it work with a 60-year-long delay in money transfer?
    • One would assume they've made 8 quad selling the tickets.
      • Nah, it was explained that they essentially take 10% from all the passengers after they colonized the world - i.e. a tax on their lifetime income, which is basically amortized from year 120 to year 150 after selling the tickets. They also sold Aurora a return trip ticket - she's not getting back to Earth for 240 years. The Homestead corporation simply takes a very long view on finances and probably aren't worried about quarterly reports the same way modern corporations do. You can even begin to see the stretch today - Car companies are now willing to have 7-8 year financing deals, no payments for X months, etc, etc... things that would have seemed like financial suicide a few decades ago. A long-running corporation that is capable of waiting out that delay before income is fine as long as they ensure they have enough current income to operate that way and are patient enough for the future returns. It's implied that they do this regularly, with many many planets, so they definitely have a humongous steady supply of income (possibly from earlier-colonized, nearby planets).
    • Unfortunately the whole economics angle of the colonization completely falls apart at the slightest scrutiny. The colony is 240 years round trip away from earth so there is no way to realize any investment no matter how long term the company plans. They say they're going to tax 10% of the colonists income, but what will they collect that income in? The colony has no existing economy, there is no currency there to collect. They could create one, but with such a distance, the currency is effectively valueless on earth. They could pay them in Earth currency, but that would mean shipping it out there with the ship, which seems kind of pointless. The only conceivable way to earn a profit would be to transport some commodity back to Earth that when sold covers the massive cost of the colony ship and generates enough profit to justify the venture (similar to the old British East Indies Company or Dutch East Indies Company).

  • The robot bartender seems to have as much intelligence as Data from Star Trek. He can fully interact with humans, and even give relationship advice. If artificial intelligence is so advanced, then why only use it on a bartender? Why not have a intelligent robot pilot? An intelligent robot doctor? Or better yet, an intelligent robot repair crew? Why not have a full robot staff on stand-by to be able to deal with any emergencies without having to wake the crew?
    • Watch the scenes with Arthur again. When confronted with a Logic Bomb, he clearly fritzes momentarily. Also, almost all of his interactions are either meaningless chit-chat or well-worn platitudes. He is a caricature of a bartender, not by any means an intelligent, advice-giving AI. He's a Magic 8 Ball that serves drinks.
      • I think he's more intelligent then you give him credit for. He had problems handling the Logic Bomb because he's not programmed to be anything but a bartender. Not knowing how the ship works or being programmed to understand how things could go wrong with it, it makes sense he would be baffled by the notion of the ship not doing what it is supposed to do. But when it comes to what he was actually programmed to do, he handles it with near-human intelligence. He isn't just throwing out nice-sounding words, he's fully interacting with humans and even giving them sound advice. He reminded me a lot of Vic Fontaine from Star Trek: Deep Space 9.
      • You're definitely letting his personable nature lull you past the shallowness of his interactions... just like he's clearly designed to do in-universe. While it does seem like Arthur develops a little bit over the course of the movie, for the most part his interactions are pretty shallow. He says largely generalized things that keep Jim talking and are obviously fairly generic advice that could be given to anyone, or were likely come up with by psych specialists. (The speech about "Would you be any happier somewhere else?" is clearly a prepared line ready to be dished out to a colonist who's getting cold feet despite already being 120 years from home.) When asked about more complex concepts such as morality or deep emotional reactions, things that something with actual intelligence would at least be able to weigh and ponder, Arthur deflects again and finally answers with "These are not robot questions, Jim." When Jim comes to an obviously difficult moral choice, Arthur just breezes by it with an "Okay, have fun", oblivious to the pain Jim is in because he's just there to facilitate the conversations the passengers have with themselves, basically.
      • Obviously any robot without emotions is going to have a hard time comprehending the complexity of them. But I don't see that as a sign of lack of intelligence. Data had the same problems, and no one would call him unintelligent. There were plenty of times that Arthur gave sound advice to complex situations that wasn't merely pre-programmed. Like when he first met Jim and told him the best thing to do in his current situation was to just take a break and enjoy himself on the ship for a little while. That was indeed the best thing for Jim at the time. Anyway my original question was why they didn't use the AI for more useful things like a robot repair crew. A robot repairman doesn't need to be able to comprehend things like human emotions. He just needs to know how to recognize broken things and how to fix them. Does that really seem like something that would be beyond the capability of AI in this movie? I don't think it is.
      • The ship repair AI did a reasonably fantastic job coping with the damage the ship sustained. In the end, it took more than a year for the damage to overwhelm the AI and start spreading, and nearly two years from the initial strike before cascading failures got beyond its ability to keep up with.
      • Data had a difficult time with emotions, but he still understood the concept of "right" and "wrong" and would have been able to give a more nuanced answer than Arthur did. Several episodes that deal with Data and morality pretty clearly outline this. Arthur tells Jim to just take a break and enjoy the ship for awhile because he's supposed to help the passengers destress and encourage them to spend money, not because he actually cares about Jim. They actually try to drive this home several times by showing the characters running past the bar in obvious distress, and Arthur just stands there with his default 'waiting' expression on, not even turning his head to watch them go.
      • Arthur does take things pretty literally, such as when Jim doesn't realise that agreeing to Aurora's statement in front of Arthur that the two of them have no secrets means Arthur's programming lets him tell Aurora about Jim wanting to wake her up.

  • So in the scene with the plants that overgrew the ship in the final part of the movie, I saw birds, wild birds flying around in that scene. How did birds get there?
    • Presumably there were animals in stasis on board the ship, and Jim had already demonstrated the ability to wake up sleeping beings early.

  • Aurora bought a return trip ticket to a previously uninhabited colony world that wouldn't already have the facilities necessary to put her back under for the return trip. This implies that the ship does have means to resume a person's stasis, it's just never mentioned. Mancuso certainly seemed to know everything about the ship from a technical aspect, why didn't he tell them about this?
    • 1) Is it specifically stated somewhere that Homestead II is currently uninhabited? If not, there's an even chance that the Avalon is carrying a second wave of colonists. 2) Even if Homestead II is currently uninhabited, the crew of the ship will need to be re-frozen for the return journey to Earth. So you're on to something: if this is the first wave, then the equipment to create Human Popsicles must be on the ship. However, we still haven't established that this is the first wave. Additionally, though cryo facilities may exist aboardship, it does not therefore follow that they can be operated aboardship. That's a weak handwave, but it could still be the case. Maybe it's extremely hazardous, or emits magical anti-spaceship radiation. Maybe the cryo tech requires high-level authorization. Mancuso wouldn't bother telling Jim and Aurora who that person is, because a) that won't matter if they don't fix the ship first, and b) even if Jim and Aurora do fix the ship, Jim already has a track record of being murderously self-centered.
    • Also, it is explicitly mentioned. The autodoc can do it, so there's no reason to assume that there's nothing else on the ship that can do it. It's just that Jim and Aurora don't know about it, and Gus, being a deck chief but not command crew, might also not be privy to that sort of proprietary information.
    • More likely, the installation of a re-hibernation platform in orbit is a routine chore in prepping a planet for colonization, same as mapping it or assessing its soil quality. All of which are presumably done by robots that have no need to return to Earth when their work is done, they just send back information and confirm that it's ready.

  • As I understand it from the film, the Avalon's computer is quite intelligent. The reason for all of the various failures is that the computer is taking processing power from less critical systems to compensate for damage to the reactor control system. Essentially, the computer is smart enough to realize that the reactor control is damaged, that it cannot fix this damage, but that it can prolong the ship's functioning by using additional resources to pick up the slack. But we're supposed to believe that, despite being that intelligent, the computer is not smart enough to realize that the only way to actually fix this situation is to wake up the crew?
    • I don't know, maybe the AI logic-bombed itself to death. After all, if there's no cryogenic suspension equipment on board (besides the auto-doc), then waking up the crew will get them all killed. And without the crew, there's no way to complete the mission. But if the crew isn't woken up, the mission still fails.
    • There's "intelligent", and there's "smart technology". You're antropomorphising the computer by assuming it thinks and notices and reasons, while actually, it's a computer, soft AI at best. It can't do any of these things. It has a program and that's it, even if the program is sophisticated (which it would be - Arthur is basically a fancied-up ELIZA, but repair system would have to have a database of things that can go wrong).
    • The ship suffered numerous failures. There may have been a very deep subroutine that said "in the event of catastrophic failure, discreetly wake up a crew member". That subroutine never activated.
      • Possibly due to the Diagnostics subsystem dying. Once that went down, the main computer would essentially have no new trouble inputs, so it never flipped the bit to wake up the Chief Engineer.
      • Or there might not be such a subroutine at all, given what we're shown about the Titanic-level arrogance of the builders, who treat "this hasn't happened before" as "this can't possibly ever happen".

  • When Jim tried send a message back to Homestead about waking up too early, he was told that it'd take 55 years to get a response. Two questions: one, what happened to that response; and two, if Jim was only a fraction of the distance from Earth and it took 55 whopping years, then surely it would take even longer in 90 years when people actually were supposed to be awake? The messaging system seems rather pointless when passengers and crew can expect a reply that only their children might be able to hear.
    • The response was probably waiting for the crew when they awoke and helped explain WTF had happened to their ship. And it's a colony world... colonists probably accepted that there wasn't going to be much in the way of return mail, the ability to send and receive messages is probably more a psychological soother.

  • Aurora's plan is to spend 1 year on Homestead 2, then head back to Earth. Doesn't that imply there is a 2nd ship making the trip just 1 year behind Avalon? Why couldn't they have messaged that ship for help?
    • I assumed the idea was that she'd be taking the Avalon itself back to Earth; presumably a ship of that size was capable of being repurposed rather than just being a 'one-trick pony' that could only take them to Homestead II.
    • It would probably spend most of that year being serviced, and then Aurora would return with it to Earth, where it would likely again be serviced and, if necessary, upgraded before being loaded up with more colonists. Because yeah there's no way that they spent that much money on the thing to disassemble it for spare parts when it gets where it's going.
  • Why do people keep comparing what happens in this movie to the RMS Titanic? Yes, there's an obvious parallel, but even though the Titanic was purported to be unsinkable, they still took precautions for its maiden voyage. It still had a way to radio for help. It still had flares, and pumps that were use to counteract the flooding. It still had some lifeboats, the majority of which simply weren't filled to capacity. The events of this movie where no precautions were taken do not have real-world precedent just because the Titanic sank.

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