Sunday, September 02, 2007


Danny Boyle's a bit hit and miss as far as I'm concerned;

Trainspotting - Hit
A Life Less Ordinary - Surface damage
The Beach - Miss apparently
28 Days Later - Miss
Millions - Um...
and now Sunshine...

It's basically Alien, but of all the films that have tried to emulate Alien over the years this is probably the best I've seen so far.

It's 2057 and there's a problem with the sun, some sort of quantum thing has buggered it and it's not chucking out as much energy, thus the Earth is stuck in a "Solar Winter" (as opposed to...), so the Icarus 2 is sent to the sun with a crew of 8 and a fission bomb with the mass of Manhattan to restart the Sun. (So we've got a little bit of The Core in there too) and Icarus you'll remember from Greek mythology died because he got too close to the sun.

It's an ensemble piece, and although billed alphabetically I think everyone knows Cillian Murphy is the lead, he plays Capa the ship's physicist, the guy in charge of the bomb. Other crew members include Mace the engineer, played by Chris Evans, which I think was surprising to pretty much everyone and to be fair, he's very good in it, the rest of the multi-national/racial crew (none of this cold war or US only stuff!) are very well played.

En route to the Sun they come across the distress signal (Alien) of the Icarus 1 that disappeared seven years ago (Event Horizon), now they must weigh up the choice between continuing on their current mission or investigating the Icarus 1...cue everything going wrong.

Sunshine clearly doesn't do anything overly original, in all the press stuff I saw for it one of Danny's main points was that nobody's been to the Sun before, yes and no if I may point out Star Trek IV: They Voyage Home and it's inspiring TOS episode, they didn't land on it no, but it's close enough, however what it does do, it does pretty well, there's tension, good character conflict, and it's pretty realistic from a technical point of view (they had to take some dramatic liberties such as artificial gravity for instance). It's a bit slow in it's mid section at times, but overall it's a good film.

Ridley Scott recently stated (for the Blade Runner re-re-re-re-re-release I think) that Sci-Fi is dead, nobody can do anything original with sci-fi. And without getting into a big rant about the overall originality of cinema, he's right to a degree, but what Sunshine does is take proven sci-fi elements and works them, well.

Sunshine - 8/10


Anonymous said...

It's not about "originality" here-- it's about making your supposedly professional crew do stupidly fatal things when you're not bumping them off with ridiculous death-traps. I can understand why people fall for this thing-- it manages to make death almost pornographically beautiful, and that, combined with a lovely musical score, is a seductive mix. But in terms of plotting and character development, "Sunshine" does nothing well. Blinded by the light, indeed....

Anonymous said...

Sci-Fi is dead! Long live Sci-Fi! Great movies have always been mash-ups of what has come before with an injection of juxtaposition. Just wait until "Saga City" gets extracted from my brain ...

Ridley is an old man administrating a studio system, what does he know? ;-)

Mike Peter Reed said...

I have no idea what my last comment was about, but I saw Sunshine last night.

I'd say it's Silent Running meets Event Horizon and eclipses neither. It does make me want to watch Saturn 3 again to see Hector again. Sunshine - I'll stick to Little Miss Sunshine, thanks ;-)

Matt Grover said...

I do need to watch Event Horizon again, haven't seen that in ages!