Original Review Date: 6/20/2007
From the director of zombie/horror film 28 Days Later, Millions and Trainspotting comes a sci-fi thriller entitled Sunshine. Fifty years in the future, Earth is freezing in a solar winter. The Icarus project is the last hope for the world. They must deliver a “stellar bomb with a thermonuclear payload equivalent to the mass of Manhattan” near the center of the closet star to earth, our Sun, creating a miniature big bang and a new star (re-ignition of the old star) in the process. One Icarus space ship has already been lost. This film follows the exploits of the second mission, the Icarus II.
Unlike Armageddon, The Core and The Day After Tomorrow, there is a total lack of goofiness, quirky, lovable characters in Sunshine and it is almost completely absent of absurdity. This is a film where characters have to make hard decisions, decisions that will affect the fate of millions, possibly billions of people. The cast of characters is comprised of the scientists and astronauts necessary to carry out the mission. They are: flight officer Cassie (Rose Bryne) and Mace (Chris Evans), ship’s psychologist Searle (Cliff Curtis), communications and first officer Harvey (Troy Garity), nuclear physicist Capa (Cillian Murphy), Captain Kaneda (Hiroyuki Sanada), botanist Corazon (Michelle Yeoh) and flight physicist Trey (Benedict Wong).
What is unfortunate about this film is the same thing that happened in the atmospheric Event Horizon. Something shows up in the third act of this film completely unnecessary, transforming it from a sci-fi epic into a sci-fi / horror movie with a clearly defined antagonist and protagonist. The trailer to Sunshine makes you think its something entirely different from what it actually is. If this “something” had been what it was alluded to be in the trailer, it would be easy to forgive its inclusion, as long as it was handled properly. But we are given the ordinary “something” in Sunshine, again.
If there are any complaints to be had about Sunshine, it is most likely because of this part of the film. The first question when this “something” appears is why? Why include this? The film was effectively offing the crew of the Icarus II without it. It just was not necessary at all. On an unrelated note, most people with a death wise, that really want to die, find a way to kill themselves. They don’t sit around and wait for it to happen naturally while imitating a devout Christian hermit. If you really want to communicate to God like you say, kill yourself. If you believe in God so adamantly, why not bring yourself into his/her presence immediately instead of talking on and on about the universe, star dust, angels and the End of Days? Also, would said belief really give you super-strength and pain/death immunity, discounting Hercules and Lazarus of course? I’m just wondering, being a blatherskite as it were and as I said earlier, these thoughts and questions are totally unrelated to the plot of Sunshine.
Danny Boyle’s Sunshine is an end of the world sci-fi movie tackled with intelligence, real people and science whose third act practical undoes everything intellectual that came before it. You will have a good time with this film but if you look closely you will see the greater time that you could have had.