JT Film Review

3 – Sunshine (2007)

Sunshine REVIEW

4/5 stars

Director – Danny Boyle

Cast – Cliff Curtis, Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Chipo Chung, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rose Byrne, Benedict Wong, Troy Garity

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Danny Boyle has quite a wide portfolio of genres under his belt. His biggest movies include the recent massively-hyped underdog story Slumdog Millionare, classic drug movie Trainspotting, and even zombie horror with 28 Days Later.

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Now with Sunshine he attempts the sci-fi genre, and what we get is certainly interesting. The plot follows the crew of a spaceship (Icarus II) who are sent to re-ignite the sun, which has somehow started to lose its power by being infected with a ” Q-Ball” (apparently somewhat scientifically accurate). The movie deals with the interactions among the crew members as they deal with the journey to their destination and the weight of their responsibility.

The first major plot point comes as the crew realizes that another ship (the Icarus I, which had bent sent previous to their own mission, and which had thought to have been destroyed, along with her crew) is in fact still intact and sending out a distress beacon. The physicist on board (played by Cillian Murphy) decides to alter their course to go to the ship, reasoning that as they didn’t exactly know if their own payload (used to re-ignite the sun) would work, if they had two the chances would be higher one would work.

Some characters disagree with him, and tension intrudes. A couple characters die due to this decision. People are, to put it simply, not happy.

tn2_sunshine_21Matters take a turn for the worst when they realize that one of the crew of Icarus I (the captain, Pinbacker) is still alive, and is hell bent on letting the sun destroy itself, and letting humanity die, citing it as God’s will.

Here is where the movie unfortunately loses ground. While the movie up to this point has been a contemplative sci-fi drama (along the lines of an Asimov story) with wonderful visuals, here it turns into a stalker/horror movie. Pinbacker is horribly scarred, and instead of just showing us that, Boyle for some reason decides to amp up the scars to a zombie-like level, and whenever Pinbacker is on screen a streaking/fog effect is used on him. It just doesn’t quite work.

It reminded me of I Am Legend in a way. Both that movie and Sunshine have a quiet and tense first two acts, and then abruptly finish with a somewhat generic ending. However, while I Am Legend always had a bit of action/whizzbang in the beginning (i.e. Will Smith speeding through the streets of New York in a pristine Mustang), Sunshine is really at heart a drama. Thus I Am Legend can be excused a little easier than this film.

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However, having said that, the last ten minutes of this film are great. The acting is great all round, with Chris Evans and Cillian Murphy standing out in my opinion. Of course, their characters were very prominent, but their acting was very good. Chris Evans in particular is very good; he has a scene where he emerges himself into freezing cold coolant that he nails out the ballpark.

OVERALL

Overall, it is just the design of one character with which I had a problem. The movie is still good; however it could have been as good as say, Soderbergh’s Solaris. It isn’t, but it comes extremely close. The best parts will dazzle and intrigue you, the worst will at least offer good solid entertainment. Recommended for fans of classic, serious sci-fi; and also for those just looking for a good movie. A good film all around.

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TRAILER

“Sunshine” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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April 24, 2009 - Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Sci-fi, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Unless you have a problem with supposedly professional people acting like squabbling morons under pressure, which I do: THEN it’s not such a great flick. Alex Garland’s idea of creating drama is to have people who really ought to know better act as stupidly, pettily, and incompetently as possible, and all of the the pretty F/X and silly camera-shaking in the world can’t hide that fact. How this script got produced is beyond me: a team of twelve-year-olds would have acquitted themselves with more intelligence and discipline than these characters did.

    Comment by Kim | April 25, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for commenting.
      I have to admit I disagree, I actually thought the script was written very well in that respect. I know what you’re talking about, those scenes (where people fly off the deep end when they’re supposed to be hand-picked pros) annoy me as well. However I didn’t really see any of that here. Of course there are a couple scenes where Chris Evans and the character called Trey (sp?) get emotional, but I think that is part of the point. They are pros, they are trained for this stuff, but nothing can really prepare one for a journey and situations like this.

      Comment by jamesturpin | April 25, 2009 | Reply


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