Thursday, January 27, 2011


I watched Sunshine last night. It's a classy movie from 2007 that could have rated a 9, but they mucked it up so bad that I have to give it a 6. It's sad because they had a great idea and a ton of money to pull it off. 

On some levels, the creators of Sunshine did a good job -- but they didn't pay attention to their script. The main concept, that a spaceship is taking astronauts on a mission to restart the fusion reaction in our dying sun, is a good one. Sunshine takes the viewer on a magical, ultra-floodlit two-hour trip to the sun. No one ever promised that before and the movie delivers, in a visual sense. The look is unmatched, so fiery and bright that you may be tempted to close your eyes now and then.

And Cillian Murphy is perfect for the lead. He's such a strange, ethereal-looking guy and a good actor, to boot. You easily believe that he is a genius/physicist capable of saving the world. And the movie's certainly got drama -- if the mission fails, all life on Earth will be destroyed. You don't get much more dramatic than that. With all that going for it, you'd think the movie would be great. It's not.

The problem is that, while Cillian is perfect and the ship's captain, Cliff Curtis, is good, the dialogue and the absurd sub-plots are terrible. I wish the director had spent more time fine-tuning the secondary story to make it believable. Because it isn't. They brought in a ridiculous idea to fill up the middle of the movie, and completely ruined it.

Yet the movie still shines. It's the look: it's brilliant, gorgeous, startling. Since the story takes place on a spaceship, the audience is watching actors and CGI sets for most of the two hours, but the look never gets old. There is great computer animation in Sunshine. Nothing looks fake. The music is also delightful, providing an appropriately magical tone for the story. It reminds me of the soundtrack to Solaris (which is a far better movie). 

They tried with this movie but failed. If you're a sci-fi addict, you'll want to watch it just for the visuals. You can always fast-forward through the idiotic sub-plots. As usual, I reveal no spoilers in my reviews.

Anyone out there have a different opinion of the movie? Remember, this could be your unlurking day, the grandest moment of your entire life!