I try not to stare into the sun, but then again I am a bit on the slow side so who knows what I’ll do!
Written By: Alex Garland
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Sunshine sure did start off strong, that’s why it’s such a shame that it had to struggle to the finish line. At some point in time both Danny Boyle and Alex Garland lost sight of what exactly they were trying to do with Sunshine and in doing so they lost me as a viewer. Sunshine is hard science fiction, but then it isn’t. Sunshine is a humanistic drama, but then it is a movie that only serves up a plot contrivance at the end. Sunshine is a very murky movie, there is just as much to shake your head at as there is to applaud.
I’ve heard many people rave about the score to Sunshine, but honestly, I don’t see what the big whoop was all about. Outside of a few scenes the score struck me as incredibly unremarkable and no different than any other futuristic science fiction score. There wasn’t anything wrong with the cast of Sunshine, but I did find Chris Evans as Mace and Troy Garity as Harvey to be a tad too on the weak side. But, that’s alright because for the first two-thirds Sunshine was an ensemble film and their weaknesses were hidden by the rest of the cast. Unfortunately Sunshine deviated from the ensemble tone in its final act and instead became a cliche monster versus outmatched human movie.
That giant shift in tone, along with a bad idea for how to film the “villain”, are what hurt Sunshine the most. The first two-thirds of Sunshine were far from perfect, I could have done without the patronizing moralizing about obvious situations for instance, but it was still a very good sci-fi flick with a hard science spin and the requisite psychological drama between the crew. However, the third act was one giant cliche after another, and it became so much pap the moment Capa had the conversation with Icarus about the number of remaining crew members. What had been a hard science fiction tale now became a monster on the loose slasher film that didn’t fit in tonally with the rest of the movie. Add in the disorienting, and frankly bad, style that was used to shoot the last third of the film and Sunshine leaves the viewer with a bad taste in their mouth.
I did enjoy the effects of the actual Icarus and the special effects were tremendous, it was simply the visual style in the last act that went awry. Sunshine is not Danny Boyle’s best effort, but if it’s his worst effort then that isn’t so bad. Sunshine isn’t a complete movie, but what we are given is a good movie that could have been great. Still, I’ll take a good movie every time, and a hard science fiction movie sure is a welcome change of pace from the Star Trek’s of the world.