Sunshine (2007) – Danny Boyle


The Sci-Fi Chronicles checks in on Danny Boyle next, and as I’ve already done 28 Days Later, it was time to see what he did with spaceships and big budgets in his science fiction foray – Sunshine.

The film has a standout cast, composed of Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity and Mark Strong.

The film follows an international crew aboard the ship, the Icarus II, on a last-ditch mission to save everyone on the planet. They have a plan, they have the brains, and barring incident and failure, they have the time.

They are traveling to our dying star, and hoping to set off a bomb to re-ignite it, and save everyone on planet earth. That’s the mission, literally, save the world. Every other thing or person is expendable, the mission must succeed.

Murphy is Robert Capa, the brains behind the bomb’s design, plan and execution, while the rest of the cast plays the crew of the ship. There are high tensions, relationships, and everything you would expect of a group of people working in a confined space.

As the Icarus II approaches the sun, protected behind its hear shield, it picks up a signal, augmented by the mineral content of Mercury… a signal from the lost, first attempt, Icarus I.


Recognizing that the bomb aboard Icarus I will give them two chances to save the world, things spiral out of control when calculations go wrong, discoveries are made, and some of the crew are proving to be less than stable.

The movie races along, smart, tense, well-crafted, and I love the look and design of the film. Boyle’s kinetic visual style is well-served and on full display, making itself quite at home aboard a starship. That being said, in the last act of the film, some of the camerawork is less than appealing. I didn’t care for the way the shots were done to imbue fear and tension, simply by using close-ups and blurs to suggest how troubling the threat is… That bothered me. Everything else about the film, I really enjoyed.

As things get worse and worse, lives are spent to save humanity, but will it be enough, will they succeed?

I really enjoyed this one, loved the pacing and the way the story worked, and the cast totally makes the film, each one brings their role to life, and the sets have a nice reality to them that let me buy into the film. I wouldn’t put this one on the same level as Interstellar or The Martian, but I did like it.

I love the sacrifice and the drive each character showed (well most of them) as they were willing to sacrifice themselves for the success of the mission, and the continuing survival of the human race. That I like. I enjoy when a story has stakes that high, and things are asked of our heroes, usually regular people, to go above and beyond for something more than themselves.

This film definitely does that!



One Comment Add yours

  1. disattempt says:

    Despite having a simpler story, Sunshine feels more profound–has a larger, deeper sense of wonder–than Interstellar & The Martian, though. If a viewer’s more into the awe–the violence of space, the powerful brightness & enormity of the sun & the clarity of its failure to light up infinite space–Sunshine elicits this more in a heart-wrenching manner. I liked Interstellar & The Martian, but Sunshine–it’s just like you said & unlike what you meant: it’s not on the same level.

    I understand, though, how its final act turns many people off.

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