Sunshine

january 25, 2008

The movie Sunshine can't seem to find its way.

50 years in the future, a Q-ball has hit our Sun causing our Sun to slowly die.  The Earth is freezing and mankind is on the verge of extinction.  Sunshine follows the eight-person crew of the Icarus II -- a spaceship built to carry a bomb the size of Manhattan to the Sun.  The bomb is supposed to restart the Sun and help mankind live for a few million years longer.  That is the basic premise of the movie.

I enjoyed the first half of Sunshine thoroughly.  The first half is hardcore science fiction with some decent drama thrown in to keep my attention.  The characters talk intelligently and things make sense.  Then comes the second half and the second half ruins the film -- more on this in the spoilers section below.

Overall, the film should be seen because of the intense visuals.  The delight the crew takes in seeing Mercury crossover the Sun is one that is shared with the audience.  That was an outstanding visual moment in the film.  There are others, but that was the one that stood out for me.

As for the rest of the film, none of the actors standout in the film and the story collapses on itself in the second half.  Sunshine is worth a rental.  More details ahead, but first a warning:

Spoilers Ahead -- You Have Been Warned. 

Sunshine takes an abrupt turn for the horror in the second half of the film when the crew of the Icarus II divert from their mission and head for the -- no, I am deadly serious, so no giggling -- Icarus I.  Yes, the ship that was lost seven years ago is in orbit around Mercury.  Are there any crew alive?  Of course.  The crew of the Icarus II go and explore and inadvertently bring back an unwelcome crazed visitor.

The captain of the Icarus I was alive and living there for the last seven years talking to "God".  He comes onboard the Icarus II to stop the mission, in some insane plot.  This turn in the second half of the film was completely unnecessary and really kills a film that had huge potential.  We are inexcusably ripped out of a science fiction film and shoved into a horror/slasher film.  This completely tanks the movie and ruined it for me.

With such a strong opening half, I had high expectations of the film and was really curious to see how they would end it.  The way that the film ended was a complete flub.  I am disappointed that screenwriter Alex Garland decided that this was the way the film would end after putting together such a great start.