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1/14/08

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I was stoked when I first heard about this movie. Director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later), is one of the most interesting filmmakers working these days. And to hear that he was making an ambitious sci-fi film, was music to my mind. There aren't enough smart sci-fi films, it's a genre too little explored. Most sci-fi films follow the Star Wars mode; adventure films in a sci-fi setting, which is fine, I enjoy them as well. But I like to see films, that generate new ideas about what may lie ahead for mankind.


When Sunshine was released, it was fairly trashed by the critics. Everyone kept comparing it to Event Horizon, which I thought was an under-appreciated sci-fi/horror film, but not what I was hoping for. The bad press was enough to dissuade me from seeing it in theaters, a decision I now regret.


Sunshine isn't a new sci-fi classic, and it does share a thematic similarity to Event Horizon, but it's a much better film; well directed, beautifully shot, and great performances from everyone involved. Most importantly it actually makes you think. Sure the idea of the sun dying and being restarted with a man-made explosion, seems a little Armageddon-ish, but it's the way it's handled that makes it seem more serious and plausible.


The film conveys the overwhelming sense of their purpose, that if they fail, it means the end of the world. You get a sense of the loneliness of deep space, so when they need to make a decision about traveling off course, it really means something epic. And the last scene is so beautifully realized, it might just give you chills.


The film has a great international cast, in a mission to save the world, you'd expect to have many different countries represented. Cillian Murphy, is the star of the film; but it also includes great work from Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Rose Byrne, and I never thought I'd say this but Chris Evans. I'm used to him hamming it up, and getting by on his pretty boy looks in crap like The Fantastic Four, but this gives him some hope as an actor, he has a couple of good moments, where he serves as the cold-calculating scientific mind.


Sunshine, isn't a great film; it has too many flaws and a few plot holes that will never allow it to become a classic. But as time goes on, I think that people will appreciate it for what it is. It is another interesting film to add to Danny Boyle's resume, I'm glad that with each film, he tries something new; from family films to horror. I'd love to see him explore sci-fi again, but whatever he makes, I'm there.

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