Man, I didn’t even know this movie existed until a friend invited me to go see it tonight. I liked the premise - “the sun is dying and humans are going to try to jump-start it with some sort of dark matter bomb” - enough to check it out.
It’s a pretty great, though inarguably flawed movie. It did so many things right and was absolutely brimming with humanity and atmosphere. More than anything, Sunshine convinced me that, on the heels of Children of Men and The Fountain, we officially have a new wave of “Spiritual Sci-Fi” for lack of a better term - films that engage in a Science Fiction milieu in order to tackle incredibly humanistic and existential subjects. In that sense, these films join classics like Stalker, Solaris, and Blade Runner and will hopefully pave the way for some upcoming efforts.
My main complaint about the film comes with the third act, at which point it basically turns into Event Horizon; the crazy, apparently superhuman captain of the previous attempt to jump-start the Sun appears, running around the ship and chopping people up. Lame! The first 2/3 of the film is so beautiful and subtle, the magnificence and alien beauty of the Sun and its ever-present danger is so awe-inspiring and unsettling…it’s all basically thrown away when it turns into a cheap horror movie.
Still, I enjoyed it for the most part.
Anyone else see it? Anyone have theories about the ending?
In their defense, apparently the script has a more plausible setup; it’s not so much that the sun is “running out” as it is that there’s some sort of uhh, particles and stuff left over from the big bang that’s uhh, stuck in the sun, and they’re going to blast those away.
I’ve seen this, it was released this side of the pond months ago. it’s great; a lot of people have problems with the third act, buthey; it can’t be plain sailing all the way; the crew needed an obstacle to overcome on the way to their destination, and I’ll take what happened over a leaky oxegen pipe that needed fixing, or some shit like that. One truly awesome piece of Core-battling bad science though;
They make a jump from one spaceship to another with no suits; wrapped in foil insulation to prevent the extreme cold of space freezing them… yeah, the cold is the leatst of their worries!! What about the vaacuum of space instantly crushing their lungs!!!
other than that; go see. if for nothing except a scene with the AWESOME Cillian Murphy displaying the bluest eyes ever seen on screen.
I just got back from an advanced screening, and I loved it. It wasn’t a perfect movie, but it was an extremely good, thoughtful sci-fi movie. The actors were all great, Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans especially. Too bad most of the movies that Evans is in aren’t very good- when he’s actually in a decent movie with decent material to work with, he can act.
The plot was really interesting (and I thought mostly well executed), the cast was excellent, and the cinematography was just beautiful. It had such striking images of the sun, of space, and of the spaceship. For anyone who’s interested in seeing it, I would recommend seeing it in the theater, because while it would still be beautiful on DVD, it just wouldn’t compare to seeing it on the big screen.
I didn’t mind the ending so much. It could have been done better, but I didn’t think the ending was bad.
[spoiler] I didn’t think the captain was super human, just insane and determined. He’s been alone for almost seven years, in the midst of deep space, with severe burns. It’s not implausible that he survived on Icarus 1, since there was enough food and oxygen. He said something like “I’ve been talking to God for the last six and a half years, and he wants us all to come to Heaven.” And he seemed to honestly believe that God wanted all of humanity to die and go to heaven.
The psychologist and the first captain of Icarus 2 seemed to have spiritual experiences when they were enveloped by the sunshine, so it makes sense to me that the Icarus 1 captain almost died from the sunshine and had a religious experience. Then he became the absolute worst religious zealot ever. At least none of the fundamentalists on Earth are capable of killing every human being and sending them to the afterlife. [/spoiler]
I plan on seeing it again in the theater. And trying to convince all my friends who would be even remotely interested in a movie like this that they should go see it.
My edit time on my last post ran out, but I just wanted to chime in that while the science in the movie wasn’t perfect, I thought it was overall pretty good. The spaceship did make “wooshing” sounds as it spun, and I’m not sure if the artificial gravity would have covered as much of the spaceship that it did, but I just took those as film conventions. And I’m not sure if how the bomb is supposed to work would actually work, but I’ll need to watch the movie again and pay more attention to the explanation to decide.
So if you’re a big science nerd who gets hung up on science details in sci-fi movies, and can’t enjoy the movie while because you’re distracted by the questionable science, this might not be the best movie for you. But if you’re a science nerd who can overlook some questionable science in an mostly good movie, then I would recommend this to you.
I saw it while I was France last semester, as it came out much earlier in Europe. I saw it right before seeing The Fountain, and agree that they both share some cool elements.
Regarding the ending: [spoiler]I didn’t have too hard of a time with it, because I thought that it showed how the same thing that could give people a spiritual calmness could also turn them into crazed zellots if taken too far. Also, the captain’s name, Pinbacker, is taken from an old SF cult classic movie, Dark Star, about a group on a spaceship and what the cabin fever does to them, and it hints that the main them of this movie is how solitude, extreme pressure and “cabin fever” can change a person. The appearence of Pinbacker allowed those on Icarus II to see exactly what they might turn into if they kept up their downward spiral, and they managed to come together at the last moment to defeat him, and what he stood for, and to save the Earth. Yeah, it might be just a bit cliché, but it definitely works, IMHO, from a story-telling perspective. Pinbacker acts as a warning that, while some can become great when pressured to the breaking point, others can become monsters.
Also, offtopic, but Pinback is also the name of a great band. Check out their song Loro if you look them up.[/spoiler]
ETA: I should also say that I thought this was one of the best-done SF movies I’ve seen in the last 5 years, and that Cillian Murphy was aboslutely great.
Rescue Dawn is really good. Christian Bale was great, Steve Zahn was also great (and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got an Oscar nomination), and overall it was just a really great movie. While Sunshine is a great movie that’s not for everyone, Rescue Dawn is something I’d recommend for anyone who’s at all interested in non-popcorn movies.
On the subject of much of the science being fundamentally implausible - and it is, in lots of places and ways - it’s worth noting that they had Brian Cox as their advisor. While it’s his former involvement as a member of D:Ream that gives him his celeb cachet, these days he’s a well-respected particle physicist at Manchester. In the various interviews and comments that Boyle, Garland and Cox made to the media at the time of its UK release they were quite open about the premise being on the bollocks side of speculative. It’s a jumping off point for the story and the rest of the sciency stuff is just there as part of the atmosphere.
I saw it with Angua during its French release a few months back. She tends to be more bothered by scientific howlers in films than I am and had been taking the piss out of the trailer for some time, but we both felt the film was good enough that we had no problems suspending physicist disbelief for it.
I was more bothered by the feeling that most of the elements in the script had been recycled from elsewhere. The Core, Event Horizon and, above all, 2001. It’s Boyle’s execution that lifts it above this rather secondhand scripting from Garland.
Having said that, what detracted from the climax for me was
Boyle shooting the deranged captain in a way that was so reminiscent of the zombie attacks in 28 Days Later. It made those scenes feel like him just rehashing his earlier stylistic gimmicks at exactly the point where the story required that the film be taken into something strange and unfamiliar.
I completely agree with Sam that the solar images[sup]*[/sup] really ought to be experienced on the big screen.
[sub]* Angua did complain that they were obviously using X-ray images as a stand-in for visual wavelengths. Complaining about that is her perogative as an X-ray astronomer, but I thought the resulting effectiveness amply justified the sly substitution.[/sub]