Sunshine

Sunshine

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In a relatively short career of filmaking, British director Danny Boyle has certainly kept it fresh for himself. He’s done the tense thriller (Shallow Grave), the bleak indie (Trainspotting), the brainy action flick (The Beach), the ferocious horror (28 Days Later), and even the family friendly (Millions). It should come as no surprise, then, that for his latest project (which reunited him with ‘Beach’ and ‘28 Days’ screenwriter Alex Garland) Boyle has completely changed it up once again to tackle sci-fi for the first time in his career. But throughout all his genre travels, the director has always kept his films smart, thoughtful and character driven - and Sunshine is no exception.

50 years from now, the sun is dying. The Earth is feeling this in the warm of a protracted solar winter that threatens to become a full blown ice age at any moment. As a last ditch attempt to save our planet, scientists have put together a mission of astronauts and scientists to deliver a massive nuclear payload to the sun, hopefully re-igniting it. Seven years ago, the Icarus I was the first flight to attempt this, but contact with the ship was lost and the mission was never completed. Now the Icarus II takes on the job, and with the last nuclear materials on Earth all scraped together to create their massive bomb, it truly is our world’s last hope. Unfortunately, 16 months into the trip and just a scant few weeks from their destination, the Icarus II and its crew begin having….issues. When they inexplicably receive a distress beacon from Icarus I, the crew decides to track down the failed first spacecraft in order to try and launch its still floating payload and thus double their chances of success. But this decision snowballs into a series of gruesome consequences and terrible choices for the heroic crew of the Icraus II.

Borrowing more than a little from Alien, 2001, Solaris and even Event Horizon, Sunshine may at first seem to be far too derivative to be considered satisfying. But to his credit, Boyle only borrows little pieces from the various sci-fi hits that have come before, and never enough from any one source to make his film seem like an uninspired knock-off. In fact, if sci-fi is your “thing”, Sunshine is pretty darn effective and entertaining; the desolate, claustrophobic nature of the spacecraft is truly felt, as is the feeling of impending doom as things go from bad to worse. The effects are quite impressive, but never manage to overshadow the more important psychological elements. When looking at just selected ideas and moments, Sunshine is one of the best entries the sci-fi genre has had in years.

Unfortunately when considered as a whole, the film isn’t quite as strong. As is often the case in the genre, the science behind the plotline makes for a lot of mumbo-jumbo and disorienting set designs that take away from the quiet character moments Boyle achieves. Extensive re-editing of the film seems apparent, both from its twice delayed release date and at times choppy timeline. Most damaging, though, is a third act narrative conceit that feels unnecessary and ultimately changes the feel of the entire film into more of a straightforward horror movie. But none of these faults should take away from the ambitious undertaking that Boyle has skillfully crafted, and the good far outweighs in the bad in this expertly paced and relatively action packed character study.

Grade: B+

- Jeff Latta

Comments

doubleDriven05
07/25/2007
11:32AM
Age: 34
I was contemplating going to check this out since m'lady seemed interested for some odd reason. I've heard some very mixed reviews though... all say it's great until the end... which makes me kinda leary. I may still go though. It's looking like either this or Rescue Dawn.

"These are our lives, but did they ever even matter - are we worth remembering?"
- "Tip The Scales"
Rise Against

JoshTabia
07/25/2007
11:47AM
Location
michigan
cant wait to see this. great write up.
Rick Gebhardt
07/25/2007
11:53AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
I've been so looking forward to this and a wide release is still pushed off into the unknown future. I have no clue when this thing will finally get to Minnesota. I was all pumped to see it this last weekend but found out they scaled it back to a limited release. Seriously, I'd kill to see anything sci-fi in the theaters right now (and not shitty sci-fi or fantasy like Harry Snotter).

Find me EVERYWHERE:




jeff the baptist
07/25/2007
11:55AM
actually, this weekend is a wide release. not sure if minnesota is included in the wide release, but last week was like a rollout type of thing. so most of america should still be getting it this friday.
GrindTylerCore
07/25/2007
12:56PM
Location
Olathe, Kansas
i had no idea The Beach, Trainspotting, and 28 Days Later were done by the same guy. even though i have them on dvd. i'll probably check this one out.
rustycage
07/25/2007
01:01PM
Age: 33
One of my favorite directors. Didn't know this was already released.
cloudscollide
07/25/2007
01:03PM
Age: 26
Location
PA
I really want to see this.
cloudscollide
07/25/2007
10:23PM
Age: 26
Location
PA
I'm really confused. The main site for this movie....


SPOILERS*************************************************











The main site for this movie has posted EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DEATH SCENE. Why would they go ahead and 1. Tell you that everyone dies. and 2. show all of the deaths?! Who would want to go see the movie after that?! What are they thinking?! I'm so confused.
rustycage
07/26/2007
05:59AM
Age: 33
then WHY THE FUCK you just told me everyone dies?

damn you!
cloudscollide
07/26/2007
08:24AM
Age: 26
Location
PA
When I go on myspace...every ad I see is for this movie and it ruins it for you right on the ad. Then you click it and all the videos are there. So don't blame me. I put a spoilers warning.
jeff the baptist
07/26/2007
08:44AM
sorry guys, no spoilers in these threads. had to delete yer messages.
cloudscollide
07/26/2007
08:48AM
Age: 26
Location
PA
Like I said...they shouldn't really be spoilers if the ad campaign itself spoils it for everyone. No one else sees the ads on websites? Is it only me?

I'm actually suprised they don't have the spoilers right on the movie poster...
rustycage
07/26/2007
10:09AM
Age: 33
cloudscollide
Like I said...they shouldn't really be spoilers if the ad campaign itself spoils it for everyone. No one else sees the ads on websites? Is it only me?

There's a reason why I never watch trailers.
cloudscollide
07/26/2007
10:11AM
Age: 26
Location
PA
rustycage
There's a reason why I never watch trailers.


It wasn't even a trailer. It was just an ad. And I kept trying to refresh my myspace and nothing else would come up but the fucking Sunshine promotion. Piece of shit.
scott.
07/27/2007
10:37PM
Location
PA
this movie was excellent. loved it. i can see how some could be turned off by the "twist", but i dug it. then again, i predominantly enjoy horror related stuff...at the same time, it can be explained in a close-enough to realistic fashion or purely horror sci-fi way, so id think it would just turn people who arent into horror at all. oh well, you get the point.
Denizen
07/27/2007
10:46PM
Location
Bedford, OH
Might be seeing this tomorrow.

rasta

Michael Smer
07/27/2007
11:01PM
Age: 30
Loved it although the acting by the fantastic four guy, the asian botanist lady, and the psych guy was all fucking horrendous the story, cillian murphy, and the amazing plot overcame it all in a big way to make it great.
sovietnoodle
07/27/2007
11:45PM
Location
Colorado
just watched it. thoroughly enjoyed it til the "twist"...that was definitely unnecessary i thought and changed the feel of the movie. It probably woulda been better by keeping it more cliche in a sense i guess. not a bad movie for sure though. first 2/3 of it are very engaging and good...last 1/3 is still engaging but more in a "come on...are u serious?" type way
Rick Gebhardt
07/28/2007
06:29AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
This is playing in a total of FOUR theaters in all of Minnesota, and they're all small art house theaters. I thought this was supposed to be a wide release? WTF? Anyways, I'm going to try and get to this sometime this week, but doubt I'll be able to have time. Dammit.

Find me EVERYWHERE:




Michael Smer
07/28/2007
10:29AM
Age: 30
sovietnoodle
just watched it. thoroughly enjoyed it til the "twist"...that was definitely unnecessary i thought and changed the feel of the movie. It probably woulda been better by keeping it more cliche in a sense i guess. not a bad movie for sure though. first 2/3 of it are very engaging and good...last 1/3 is still engaging but more in a "come on...are u serious?" type way


I don't think it's in there as really a "twist." It's totally ridiculous for that to happen so you have to suspend your disbelief and understand (in my opinion) that danny boyle and company are showing you the different elements of society, one of which would be the crazy religious fundamentalists who would embrace the end of the world. That's why the "twist" was in there in my opinion and if that is the case then I'm totally fine with it.
sovietnoodle
07/28/2007
01:01PM
Location
Colorado
Michael Smer
I don't think it's in there as really a "twist." It's totally ridiculous for that to happen so you have to suspend your disbelief and understand (in my opinion) that danny boyle and company are showing you the different elements of society, one of which would be the crazy religious fundamentalists who would embrace the end of the world. That's why the "twist" was in there in my opinion and if that is the case then I'm totally fine with it.



I never thought about that...i guess thats a different interpretation (or at least different from my minimal thought process regarding the "twist").
sir mix-a-lot
07/28/2007
02:21PM
Location
Sacramento, CA
man, reading this review made me want to watch solaris again, even though solaris is the world's longest 90 minute movie.

I'm not here to make things better; only to observe and pass judgement.

Originally stated by Scott Miller
It's like talking into a mirror!
Denizen
07/28/2007
03:22PM
Location
Bedford, OH
sir mix-a-lot
man, reading this review made me want to watch solaris again, even though solaris is the world's longest 90 minute movie.


We watched that in my intro to Philosophy class my freshman year. The only thing a lot of people had to say was that it was the slowest movie they had ever seen.

I enjoyed it for the most part.

rasta

sir mix-a-lot
07/28/2007
07:06PM
Location
Sacramento, CA
russkie version or clooney version?

I'm not here to make things better; only to observe and pass judgement.

Originally stated by Scott Miller
It's like talking into a mirror!
Rick Gebhardt
07/28/2007
08:16PM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
I've only seen the Clooney version, but loved it. I need to see the Ruskie version sometime.

Find me EVERYWHERE: