Sunshine


Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Robin Clifford 
Sunshine
Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Laura Clifford 

It is the year 2057 and the Sun is dying. Earth has been thrust into a solar winter and our planet is slowly freezing to death. The only hope is Icarus II, a spaceship carrying a Manhattan-size nuclear device that scientists, and mankind, hope will reignite the Sun and bring warmth and life back in "Sunshine."

Robin:
Seven years before, another save-the-Earth mission, the Icarus I, was launched but became lost in space. Icarus II blasted off to take over the jump-start-the-Sun operation with its crew of eight headed by Captain Kaneda (Hiroyuki Sanada). Joining the captain on this critical mission are a group of specialists, including Robert Capa (Cillian Murphy), a brilliant physicist and the only one who has the know how to control and operate the massive bomb being pushed by the spaceship to its target.

Then, two things happen. One of the crewmembers, Navigation Officer Trey (Benedict Wong), becomes unhinged and sabotages the ship. While recovering from the disaster, the crew receives a distress signal emanating from the long lost Icarus I. Without enough air on board to deliver the bomb and return home, they must decide to intercept the ship and, hopefully, its air supply or make it a one-way trip to the Sun. Desperate, the Icarus II crew choose the former and undertake the rescue mission. It is a bad choice.

Helmer Danny Boyle is best known for his Earth-based films, such as "Trainspotting" and "28 Days Later," so it was an interesting concept, for me, that he tackles an F/X-laden science fiction space saga. The result is an ambitious, visually spectacular film that is also quite sterile in its straightforward execution. The story, a very exciting one by Alex Garland, should have been focused on the Icarus II mission but makes an odd and, to me, unnecessary twist when they head to Icarus I. I'll leave it at that since I don't want to spoil it for anyone.

Part of "Sunshine's" sterility lay in the fact that the crewmembers aboard the Icarus II never flesh out beyond two-dimensions. The capable cast, which also includes Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Mark Strong and Michelle Yeoh, do yeomen's work in their roles but the story, flashy production design and grand F/X outshine the actors. A balance between production and characters would have made this an even better sci-fier.

Danny Boyle adds another innovative film to his resume. "Sunshine" will appeal to the many science fiction fans out there and offers a believably wrought tale steeped in science fact. I give it a B.

Laura:
Laura did not see this film.
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