2007-05-08 15:17
What it’s about:

The sun is starting to fade, and the last hope for humankind is a crew of astronauts sent to re-ignite the sun with a nuclear device. Seven years earlier a similar mission failed and the spacecraft vanished. As soon as their ship enters the dark zone where contact with earth is impossible, problems arise, and the crew must fight for their lives, and the survival of the entire planet.

What we thought of it:

With the current interest in global warming, it was only a matter of time until a film like Sunshine came along. Like Armageddon in reverse, it puts the fate of the world in the hands of a small team of scientists who must forget their personal differences and complete their mission to save the world. The focus on interpersonal tension between the crew members keeps the film grounded and credible, even when things get a bit silly or over-the-top, which is Sunshine’s biggest strength.

Like many new sci-fi entries, Sunshine wears its influences on its sleeve, recalling classics like Alien, Event Horizon and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it keeps up the tension to distract you from the few cases of blatant theft. Sunshine reunites director Danny Boyle with writer Alex Garland, who last worked together on Trainspotting.

The special effects are excellent, considering the modest budget, and really bring to mind the transcendental atmosphere of 2001, and even the recent The Fountain. It would all be great if the film followed that particular theme to its conclusion, but towards the end things nearly go seriously off the rails with some very out of place elements. Despite this wobble, Sunshine still manages to deliver a satisfying climax that isn’t too cheesy, and provokes some thought.

The human element is really the core of the film, and the entire cast deliver admirably, even through the weak points. Cillian Murphy is particularly good as Capa, the unwilling hero of the piece. His wild, piercing stare projects constant anxiety, and he brings drama to even the simplest scenes. Mace (Chris Evans) provides the perfect counter to Capa’s sensitivity with his cold, logical action man, who puts the mission above all else. Murphy and Evans are the biggest stars, but nowhere near Hollywood A-listers, and this keeps things low key, making the dynamics between the crew far easier to believe.

Overall Sunshine is a decent movie, which straddles the B-movie line between gripping and totally derivative, but manages to hold your attention throughout. The story is perhaps not as deep and meaningful as the filmmakers hoped, but it does provide more food for thought than most, and it remains exciting from the first danger the crew encounters. We’ve seen all this before, of course, but most of the time it is nowhere near this well done and nowhere near this much fun.

- Ivan Sadler
The guys that brought us Trainspotting have turned out a decent sci-fi adventure in Sunshine. Yes, we've seen it all before, but normally nowhere near this well done.

Toy 2007/04/18 10:23 AM
Sunshine Very promising movie, cant wait to see it
Mopheus 2007/04/18 10:43 AM
Sci Fi Sci Fi helps our imaginations to try and solve problems our minds can conceive, so if this movie is guaranteed to get me thinking then i will be first on the line when it opens
dustin 2007/04/23 9:18 PM
what great movie! I love my scif-fi, but i'm always tentative when it comes to sci-fi space movies. But this was AWESOME! this should get 5 stars, just for its entertainment value alone!!! go watch it on the big screen!
MA 2007/04/28 2:11 PM
Subtle and understated I concur that this movie ii pretty formulaic: yes, we have seen it all before; yes, the plot is pretty predictable; and yes, one tends to think from time to time, 'Hey, this looks familiar; I'm sure I've seen it somewhere before...'. Yet, the movie does manage to keep one interested to the inevitable, predictable end. Some aspects of the plot are just too easily glossed over to be credible: such as the matter-of-fact acceptance of the spirit-become-flesh of the captain of the Icarus 1 come to menace them with his delusions of grandeur. It seems that it's become acceptable that whatever happens out there in space, no matter how weird or improbable, is beyond our understanding of space and matter, and thus should be accepted as a matter of fact (A modern Hamlet might have commiserated: 'There are more things in heaven than are dreamt of in our physics & philosophy...!'). But since space, time and air often runs out whenever there's a crisis in space, there's no time to dwell on things
MA 2007/04/28 2:14 PM
Subtle & understated: continued But since space, time and air often runs out whenever there's a crisis in space, there's no time to dwell on things philosophical & metaphysical.... Also, the fight scene and the subsequent testosterone conflict between the main (male) protagonists seems contrived: In a tense situation, with nothing short of the planet's existence at stake, we need some personal conflict to show how man (the gender) just cannot live together peacefully; it's de rigeur. The women, meanwhile, take a more pragmatic approach: life-affirming, as the botanist's short-lived joy at finding a seedling had survived a typically rational, male response to the fire crisis. Another beautiful coup de grace: the fragility and resistance, but ultimately hopelessness, of life beyond the comfort zone of our terrestrial existence. The morality of choosing who dies by means of a vote is an interesting aspect: the bleeding-heart liberal withholds her vote, as if it will stop the inevitable. In the end she begs for a mer
MA 2007/04/28 2:16 PM
Subtle & understated: continued#3 In the end she begs for a merciful end, if she can't effectively stop the action by clinging to her quaint notions of morality in the face of the rational and cold logic she cannot deny. A political message snuck in here...? While there's no gratuitous sex scene (thankfully!), it is beautifully subtly (even poetically!) expressed: instead of an intimate sex scene in their room, there's the sharing of a very personal, similar, and eventually prophetic nightmare, which turns out to be the consummation of their attraction only hinted at. Someone certainly read their Classical English poetry! (Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress') Despite these glitches, it's the cinematography that really underlines the message (even if the plot is slightly muddled). Brilliant! Subtle hints that flicker across the screen; a quiet message that runs almost imperceptibly throughout the movie. It's not just about the brilliance of the sun, but also the depths of our own darkness; not just about searing
MA 2007/04/28 2:17 PM
Subtle & understated: continued #4 It's not just about the brilliance of the sun, but also the depths of our own darkness; not just about searing heat, but compassionate warmth in self-sacrifice for the greater good. Which brings up yet another interesting aspect: the act of self-sacrifice is an almost cultural (Oriental) response (harikiri?) to a personal failure, in the face of the logical, principled, guilt-ridden (Western) deliberations of euthanasia/murder dressed up as a sacrifice for the greater good. In this sense, the composition of the crew is telling: no token Black crew members (as in American, Affirmative Action quota productions), but Asian members which bring a different dimension to the decision-making process (albeit only for the two self-sacrifice scenes). Not a Hollywood blockbuster, but still enjoyable, maybe exactly because it allows itself to add a few refreshing touches here and there...
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