Jan 2008 14

Danny Boyle’s newest genre to play in is this great piece of sci-fi cinema that feels very fresh and original, most of the time, and keeps the viewer engaged throughout.
The crew of Icarus 2 is on a mission to reboot the sun which is dying and causing for a temperature decrease on Earth. The plan is to reboot it with a bomb equaling the mass of Manhattan and be the second and final attempt since the failed mission of Icarus 1 seven years prior. The crew of 8 is made up of a smattering of characters all with an individualized view of the proceedings from one another. Everyone gets a fair share of screen time with people only really ever gaining more due to the crew falling off one by one. This isn’t an actor showcase or focus on one lead, it is a true ensemble and everyone plays the part extremely well. The crew is very likable and sucks you into the story and we grow concerned for them as things begin to go south on the ship.
Cillian Murphy plays Capa the on board physicist who is responsible for delivering the payload (the bomb) and is the number one priority for survival of the crew. He does a great job as aforementioned at rationalizing the mission and lives and continues a string of great work by the actor ever since he broke out in 28 Days Later.
Chris Evans as Mace is also good here as the “for the mission” soldier who will do anything to see the mission through. Michelle Yeoh and Hiroyuki Sanada also do great work as the researcher and captain, respectively, on the ship and both make the most, especially Sanada, of their shares of screen time. Rose Byrne plays her biggest part in the third act and acts as the moral voice of the crew. Benedict Wong is also great as the flight analyst and his arc is a tough one to swallow at times. Cliff Curtis is great as the psychiatrist of the crew and helps us imagine the mystery and power of the sun and while also giving us the rational voice of the crew.
I know I have been avoiding the story, and that is with good reason, as the havoc that happens is best to unfold knowing as little as possible. In brief things go bad, events unfold, and the film devolves into a bit of horror at the end. The horror section doesn’t really make sense or really fit in the film, but it does work, we are just left with questioning why they went that route with the story; you’ll see what I mean when you see the film.
Production wise the movie looks fantastic, with all the special effects looking top notch and the ship itself is a marvel to look at. They also introduce some interesting ideas to help the crew cope with the journey and while a lot of the of things seem similar to previous sci-fi classics it never blatantly rips them off and usually puts a interesting spin on the proceedings. My only complaint is the weird use of filters toward the end during the horror proceedings, it’s just awkward and you can’t really tell what is going on half the time.
In the end, Sunshine is an excellent sci-fi film that could have been fantastic if it was just a hair more original and didn’t divert from it’s genre towards the end, even if it was done well. It is a must see for sci-fi fans and for anyone interested in an engaging, tense, and personal adventure that will take you on a realistic journey towards our sun.


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