1

I remember that there was initially a meteor strike, but It does not come clear to me why this, above all things, would cause a hibernation pod to malfunction.

No debris or similar event is not seen anywhere near the pods.

Is there any explanation why Jim's pod would fail?

9

Mechanical failure caused a malfunction in Jim's pod and woke him up.

From wikipedia,

The Avalon, a sleeper ship transporting 5,000 colonists and 258 crew members in hibernation pods, is on course to the planet Homestead II, a journey taking 120 years. Thirty years into its journey, the ship passes through an asteroid field, leading to a collision that causes a malfunction. The malfunction awakens one passenger, mechanical engineer Jim Preston, 90 years too early.

Another POV I found from Quora,

As I understood it from the end of the movie, the opening scene represented an encounter with an asteroid field that overwhelmed it's defensive capabilities. The “deflector dish/asteroid destroyer” device could keep up with the smaller pieces, but was unable to stop a large piece from penetrating into the ship. This large asteroid, though primarily destroyed, had some smaller pieces slam into and through the Avalon, and damaged the reactor control computer. Without anyway to repair it's damaged reactor control computer, the ship began to use computer resources from other less necessary systems, beginning with the computer control of Chris Pratt’s sleep chamber.

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    Off topic, when watching the movie, I was expecting there to be some intelligent decision being made (by the ship) about waking up a mechanic when the ship is encountering a mechanical failure. Having it be sheer coincidence IMHO detracted from the believability of the plot. – Flater Apr 22 at 22:57
  • @Flater AFAIR, it was not a coincidence, but some system failure woke up Jim. (which is a huge coincidence in a some way) – Vishwa Jun 3 at 6:21
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While what Vishwa said is most likely correct, i prefer to think of it as Jim being woke up because he is:

  • expendable for the mission
  • capable of fixing the problem
  • his main motivation is fixing things

    • Jim: people don't fix things there, they just buy a new one.

  • he actually wakes up at full health

    • same as Aurora who also was woken up on purpose
    • unlike Gus who sustained severe injuries from waking
  • it is far more hilarious

but instead of fixing the problem, he spends an entire year playing video games and growing a beard until he finally sparks interest with a lady and investing all his skill set in waking her up.

Later another character wakes up - this time most likely due to malfunction, but maybe also as a further escalation step because Jim obviously isn't taking any hints. At this point he gets some clear goals and quickly achieves the goal by throwing a hail mary in space.

Unfortunately, the ship would have had multiple means (Arthur, Displays, Announcements, etc.) to give him clear instructions earlier on. So chances are that he indeed woke up by a malfunction as well.

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    Are you positing the assumption that Jim's wakeup was intentional and specifically selected by the ship/algorithms/company? I'm not saying that's an uninteresting possibility, but it would be an entirely new viewpoint on the matter. – Napoleon Wilson Apr 20 at 17:10
  • @NapoleonWilson: i tried to make clear that there are alot of things to be held against this viewpoint (last paragraph). But i still consider it far more hilarious that he simply slacked away for a year. It is a tad more consistent with the character. In most movies a "loser" will aspire to be a hero by a dramatic situation. In this case, he simply sticks to his ways (or worsens them) until the very last second. – BestGuess Apr 21 at 9:33

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