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Old 08-10-2007, 10:23 AM   #2791
Spiwak
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Lucky you I'm so bored at work today I decided to just rewrite it. But since there are possibly spoilers in the longer review, I'll just say that I like it but the last act is a meltdown.

Brief Review of 'Sunshine'
Possible spoilers.

The plot of Danny Boyle’s latest mostly revolves around (no pun intended) the consequences of one big giant decision made early in the movie by its centric character, Capa. He and seven others are in the space craft ICARUS II (and what do we call this? That's right, foreshadowing), strapped to the back of a solar bomb the size of Manhattan. The goal: launch it directly into the Sun, which is dying awfully early after being hit by a Q-ball, to kickstart it back into life and save the Earth from freezing over. I don’t know much about science, so I’ll avoid discourse on how plausible this premise is, but it does present an interesting dynamic. The Sun is both a thing of immense and unfathomable beauty, but it also represents everything dangerous about this mission. So while the characters on board are fascinated, intrigued by the star they have to save, they must also stay the hell away from it or suffer dire consequences. Anyways, so despite this fairly simple goal and already starting the movie with the right plan and the right technology, everything still manages to go wrong simply because of one decision (which is really the story more than the goal of saving Earth): board the mysteriously abandoned space craft (incidentally, the first ICARUS) sending distress signals or not? The dilemma here is that by altering their course slightly they would be detouring from the all-important mission at hand which has already been planned to perfection and executed flawlessly so long as they stick to that plan, but for the chance of possibly recovering a second payload. Of course they go for it, and from there on everything that happens is a consequence of that decision, resulting in decisions that further deviate from the original plan, and of course many sacrifices. All the while losing crewmembers to heroism, disgruntledness, the environment, and motor-powered knives that probably stab just as effectively as regular non-vibrating knives. In any event, it’s interesting seeing this part play out, as the theme seems to be that human judgment is always flawed. Plus, as with any Danny Boyle movie, we’re treated to some amazingly creative visuals and sets, intriguing music, and a tense atmosphere caused only by the big fucking star they’re headed to and their own imperfect technology.

Then in the third act this nosedives into a wholly different genre altogether. Flipping from the man vs. environment sci-fi tale of the first two thirds to a man vs. God-loving-psychopath horror movie, the atmosphere is basically crushed. Reminded me quite a bit of the last act of Danny Boyle’s own 28 Days Later, actually, in how awkwardly it transitions tone. I maybe the like the idea of it thematically, but somewhere along the way they failed to make it work. Had the afore-mentioned psychopath been fleshed out in the slightest, perhaps it would have felt a little better. Strangely, it’s both an affirmation of, and inversion of 2001: A Space Odyssey’s final themes, arguably the movie ‘Sunshine’ takes most of its inspiration from. Whereas in 2001 technology, or rather man’s pursuit of it, is the evil, in this technology is the savior and God, or rather man’s pursuit of it, the evil. In the end humans bring about their own downfall by tampering with things they probably shouldn’t and erroneous judgment.

But neverthless, this last act doesn’t sit well with the rest of the movie, where the Sun is both the enemy and the savior at the same time. The atmosphere is lost, and while it is tense, this tension is very different, in some ways cheaper. This doesn’t bring the whole movie down, though, thankfully, and I still love the simple sci-fi story of decisions and consequences enough, along with Danny Boyle’s incredible visuals and sounds.
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