Sunday, March 02, 2008

Review: Sunshine

I know, I know, I'm late to the party as usual. I don't often go to theaters so most of my movie watching comes from Netflix these days. But I finally watched Sunshine and, while an excellent cast and directing make this a movie worthy of the scifi genre, I do have to say that the script is lacking in a way. Perhaps it's too simplistic for the suspense it's supposed to provide. Yes, there is suspense, but nothing out of the ordinary. I did like the way Boyle didn't dwell on the personal backgrounds, letting the in media res form let the characters speak for themselves. This is something Brian Wood and Brian K Vaughan do in their comics to great effect. It also allows for surprises in how the characters act when your assumptions of one character are drastically changed just by their actions.
Still, the real suspense just isn't there. Perhaps though, the suspense isn't the focus of this movie. I think Sunshine is more about the mysteries of space and our humanity within it. The captain of the previous mission loses it over his prolonged exposure to the sun and how we are all stardust, as it frequently mentioned throughout the film. And that is true, everything on Earth, or in fact, any element heavier than Iron is created in the heart of a sun, particularly during a supernova. Element heavier than iron cannot naturally develop without added pressure, the kind of pressure found in supernovae. So we all are stardust, formed by our first god, the god of the sun.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. It wasn't filled with cliches and other standard sci-fi tropes. The characterization was good and the cinematography was excellent. I wasn't insulted by the movie and certainly felt that I gained something from watching this movie, although what that is I haven't figured out yet. So this is a recommendation to go a rent Sunshine and wonder for a moment about the mysteries of the universe.

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