Tuesday, August 26, 2008


First of all, Sunshine had something going for it by having Danny Boyle as the director. Admittedly not the first person you'd think of to direct a sci-fi movie, but he does a nice job. He directed one of my all-time favorites, Trainspotting, and has other good movies on his resume, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later, etc. Anyway, I'd heard about the movie when it was in theaters but never got around to seeing it. I was at Blockbuster this week and bought several used DVD's including this one, Once, and American Gangster (I'll try and watch and review those two later this week).

The premise: "50 years into the future, the Sun begins to die, and Earth is dying as a result. A team of astronauts are sent to revive the Sun - but the mission fails. Seven years later, a new team are sent to finish the mission as they are Earth's last hope.(IMDb)

It looks good, has a nice cast of foreign actors playing American (Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh) and does what all good sci-fi movies (and books) should do - ask questions not just about science, but about the human condition. Namely:

- What role should man take in controlling nature?
- Is our existence pre-ordained?
- Is the wonder of nature and our universe the "face of god" or just something else for us to study and understand?
- What effects do isolation have on the mind and our ability to deal with others?

As they near the sun, it comes to represent not just a physical entity that they must deal with but, to some of the crew members, a spiritual one. The sun is really the source of life on our planet and as such comes to represent a "maker" of sorts. There are some moments of suspense and action, but it's the moments of psychological tension that really propel the movie.

Like a lot of science fiction movies that involve a long mission, closed quarters, a computer and a small crew, there are undeniable similarities to 2001. That says more about how seminal 2001 was than that Sunshine is copying it.

Now, I've said before that I like all sci-fi movies, even bad ones, because they all, by the very nature of sci-fi, aspire to be more. But I like Sunshine not just because it is sci-fi, but because it is genuinely a good movie. Grade: B

"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." -- Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.


wunelle said...

This one came and went without attracting my notice. I'll have to look for it in the video store.

(I haven't seen Michelle Yeoh on anything lately, though she is frequently seen in the Ferrari garage on Formula One race weekends, as she is the girlfriend of the last few years of team principle Jean Todt.)

CyberKitten said...

I've been avoiding this because it looked a bit naff. I'll see if I can borrow it off one of my friends & check it out.

wunelle said: I haven't seen Michelle Yeoh on anything lately..

She was in the latest Mummy movie I think (which I avoided).

She *rocks*.....

dbackdad said...

I'm not trying to say it's the second coming of Blade Runner or anything. But, I do think it was a worthwhile watch.

And I second the Michelle Yeoh approvals. She makes any movie she's in better. I did notice that she's also in the new Vin Diesel sci-fi movie Bablyon A.D. I believe it would take about 10 Michelle Yeoh's to make that movie better.

John said...

I loved it until the end, where it flew off the rails.

dbackdad said...

John, I'd tend to agree. The whole Pinbacker character (err, I mean Trashcan Man) didn't seem plausible to me. Most of the story had been fairly believable, at least within the framework of a sci-fi flick, but his character seemed to be too much in the supernatural end of the spectrum.