Monday, July 30, 2007


This new movie from Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) combines a little action adventure in the vein of Armageddon or the Core, Sci-Fi suspense like Even Horizon, and deep philosophical meaning as in the Fountain. It takes an absolutely terrible premise, and makes it almost palatable. When I first heard about this movie about a year and half ago, I was suspicious. When I heard Boyle was directing it, I grew a little excited. When I saw the trailers, my hopes were dashed.

Everything is summed up pretty well in the opening monologue delivered by the hero, Capa (Cillian Murphy). The Sun is dying and seven years ago, a ship was sent carrying a bomb the size of Manhattan to restart it. (There was some technical jargon about it not actually restarting it, but sparking a new star. Ignoring all of this, they're using a bomb to save the Sun and therefor us, from dying). Unfortunately, that mission never made it. Now, seven years later, the sequel to that mission is the Solar System's last hope. You may be asking yourself why Michael Bay isn't directing this. It would make a bit more sense that art house darling Boyle, but he actually does a good job dealing with big budget visual effects for his first time.

As with any space mission ever put on film, this cannot run smoothly. After Capa makes a fateful decision, the ship runs into a whole heap of trouble, and obliging secondary characters start dying off one by one. This shouldn't come as a surprise, however, seeing as a requirement for a mission to the Sun itself is supporting characters mortality. Sunshine strays from this action based formula and ventures into the realm of science-fiction/horror when they stumble across the remnants of the previous mission. This is turn leads to more depth with concepts of God and immortality.

What's interesting about this movie is that the tension between the characters as they start to turn on each other in this claustrophobic environment. There are even conversations of sacrificing crew members so the others may survive. With all this development, you almost forget that they're flying straight into the bloody Sun. It's almost as if the absolutely stupid premise takes a back seat and didn't even bother me.

If you've seen any of the trailers, you can tell that this is a fairly stunning movie. Boyle does a fantastic job of capturing the stunning, yet terrifying nature of the Sun. It's easy to see where the almost religious undertones come in- with the concept of creating new life deep within the Sun. He flips back and forth between the cold and sterile blues of the inside of the space-craft, depriving us of any warm tones; and the intense reds and oranges of the Sun. It is virtually a visual masterpiece.

It's interesting because this movie is half wonderful, and half terrible. The concept is awful, but the movie doesn't dwell on it. Some of the action and horror aspects fall flat, but they don't seem important. It looks beautiful, but does that make a movie good? It's incredibly close to being a deep and inspirational piece, but it lands a little short. I guess I'll have to split the difference between the two.

Watch the Trailer


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