By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox Searchlight.
Sunshine is a fictional Apollo 13. It's all about everything that goes wrong on a space mission and how the astronauts fix the problems with their make-do inventiveness. But it's sci-fi so it's all problems and solutions with stuff that doesn't really exists.
Movie Review: Sunshine
Eight astronauts are on a mission to deliver a bomb to the sun. Earth has been freezing since the sun started dying so this will reignite our entire solar system. But a detour causes catastrophic damage and it's a struggle just to keep the mission on track for the rest of the film.
The problem solving does make sense for the most part. They do establish how this little ecosystem runs so that when it turns to sh**, you know what they're trying to fix. It builds with tension and painful moral decisions that must be made.
All the usual characters are there: the cold military realist, the spiritual one, the softie who cries about all the tough decisions, the whiner… no token black guy but there are two Asians. While some play their typical role, the film does use all parties to address the difficult decisions. They don't double talk around killing people to save air, so that's good.
A third act twist kind of goes off story. I mean, they set it up, but if this was about problem solving, they bring in an element that creates far more derivative peril in the spaceship genre. It's artfully done though.
The biggest problem is that all those space pulses get aggravating. If I wanted to hear that much bass, I'd go to a local club in LA. Those weird angles in the final sequence may be Danny Boyle's Trainspotting aesthetic for the new millennium, but it's hard to know if it conveys any additional feeling.
There's already infighting and everyone's morose at the beginning, so it's not much of a descent. We don't see any of the harmony that might have existed before it's threatened. But then, we don't see how bad earth has gotten either, so it's kind of right to the point. You either get into it or you don't.
Some people try way too hard to be intense. Like the engineer who messed up the calculations. Yeah, it's tragic, but blubbering about it isn't going to make things any better.
So, Sunshine is worthwhile for taking a more intellectual approach to the genre, though it strays a little bit and goes overboard on some of the artistic elements.