Nick at Nite and The Movie Snob sound off on Sunshine.
Nick at Nite: If you are not a science fiction fan or a particularly ardent supporter of Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), you may want to stay away from this one. However, if you can get past the repeated blinding shots of the sun – the shots that make you feel like you are inside a microwave oven looking out the glass into the kitchen – and set aside your “that doesn’t pass the smell test” attitude, you are likely to enjoy this movie. Danny Boyle, the director of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, brings us this science fiction disaster flick that is part 2001: A Space Odyssey (art house) and part Deep Impact/Armageddon (popcorn movie). The movie is set fifty years in the future, when our sun is dying and the planet is freezing. A spaceship is sent to the sun to deliver a payload intended to recharge it (I think it is a big bomb). Things run amok for the crew of the spaceship when it receives a distress signal from another spaceship that was assumed lost after failing to complete an identical mission seven years earlier. There are a series of interesting plot twists and some really cool special effects. This is the critical point – DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE IF – when you leave a movie like Superman, Star Wars, or The Princess Diaries and say to yourself “there is no way that could ever happen” and as a result you don’t like it. It is a SCIENCE FICTION film. If you want to see SCIENCE REALITY, go see March of the Penguins or one of Al Gore’s power point presentations. I give this an “A-.”
Movie Snob: I could not suspend disbelief at the end of the movie, so I did not like Sunshine nearly as well as Nick did. That said, the first two-thirds of the movie are an effective blend of 2001 and Armageddon, with hints of Alien and Solaris thrown in for good measure. The special effects are pretty darned good, with lots of impressive shots of this massive heat shield being pushed straight into the sun by a long spindly spaceship that looks sort of like the one from 2001. The acting isn’t bad, with a crew of astronauts getting pushed to its limits by the strain of a long, desperate voyage that is likely a suicide mission to boot. And it’s always nice to see Rose Byrne (I Capture the Castle, Troy) working, even if she is not at all dolled up for the part. I give it a C.