Directed by Danny Boyle.
Written by Alex Garland.
Starring Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh and Chris
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 7/30/07
My friend Terry said it best when speaking
about the trailer for the new sci-fi thriller "Sunshine"--"That's
either going to be really cool...or absolute dogshit." He's
right--it looks like it could be "2001: A Space Odyssey" good or
"Event Horizon" bad in the trailer, no doubt. I decided to
roll the dice this past weekend to see if the same writer/director
combo that gave us "28 Days Later" could work their magic again to
give us a quality product.
The answer? Mostly. "Sunshine"
follows a crew of eight astronauts, scientists and physicians as
they attempt to re-light the sun, since it has burned out in the
future-tense setting of the film. This is actually the
second-such mission in the film's chronology; when we meet everyone,
we learn that the failed mission of Icarus I has led to our
eight-member crew being sent on the Icarus II to try, try again and
save the earth from frozen extinction. There's a captain
(Hiroyuki Sanada), a second-in-command (Troy Garity), an operations
guy (Chris Evans, from
Four"), a mathematician (Benedict Wong), a pilot (Rose Byrne), a
physicist (Cillian Murphy, from
Later" and "Red
Eye"), a physician (Cliff Curtis) and a biologist (Michelle Yeoh,
from "Supercop" and
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). The mission is
clear--light the sun with a bomb so large it could blow up a
planet--but, naturally, the mission doesn't go exactly according to
For about three-quarters of the film, I
thought that "Sunshine" was great. Good looking, great
collection of randomly-well-suited B-level actors, beautiful
photography, tense thriller, sci-fi that feels slightly ripped off
but still entertaining. At one point, the mission derails and
forces the crew to come up with another way to complete their
mission (at about the 60% complete point), and something happens at
the end of this sequence that makes the film fall into
territory due to its change in course. Some people might think
this works as a plot device; I did not, and it led to me being a
little angry for a while as the film turns into another kind of film
for about 20 minutes. This device was unnecessary to deliver a
solid film, and it gets the film away from the tense nature of the
goings-on to give us...well, I'll just say another kind of movie.
Save for this brief interlude, I thought
that "Sunshine" was great, a sci-fi film in a summer that has been
strangely devoid of sci-fi films that at least represents some of
the good things about the genre. Danny Boyle, our director
here as well as "Trainspotting",
"Millions" and "28 Days Later", has great talent, and it's good
to see that talent on display once again.
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard