Sunshine, directed by the highly acclaimed Danny Boyle, is a movie about saving the sun. In the not so distant future, Earth’s dying sun spells out disaster for the planet. As a result, a team of scientists, engineers and astronauts are sent to outer space to deliver a payload. The payload, which is the size of Manhattan, is a highly powerful bomb which is designed to be released into our sun in the hopes of generating a new star and saving our civilization. However on their way to delivering this payload, the crew encounters various difficulties.
What I love most about this movie is that it is a self-contained story. All the scenes in the movie take place on board the spaceship carrying the payload. This puts greater focus on the characters i.e. the crew members on board. ‘Sunshine’ is a certainly a character driven movie and the characters we are presented with were really interesting. Not only were they of different background (yay for diversity) but also different careers. For example there were not only engineers and scientists on board but also a psychologist who dealt with the emotional state of the crew and a botanist who was in charge of growing food necessary for survival throughout the whole trip.
Another strength of ‘Sunshine’ is its cinematography. The use of CG is barely apparent and all the shots were constructed to elicit a sense of awe from viewers. A lot of thought was also put into the themes discussed in the movie. At first glance, many would feel that ‘Sunshine’ would follow a similiar path as ‘Armageddon’ for example in that it would be a cheesy, over the top action-adventure flick but it really isn’t. Instead, ‘Sunshine’ is an intricate science fiction film that discusses complicated themes such as Artificial Intelligence and space travel as well as more emotional themes such as sacrifice. The movie also says a lot by not saying anything and this was only possible because of the breath taking cinematography; probably the best I’ve ever seen for a movie shot in space.
However the film was not always sunshine (pun intended) and this is because of its third act. The film goes a direction, which I felt contradicted what the film was trying to be. In an attempt to make the movie more theatrical and dramatic, it decides to be a slasher film in its third act. A lot of horror movie tropes were introduced which were cringeworthy to watch and did not fit well into the grand scheme of things. The third act ruined what would have made ‘Sunshine’ a classic sci fi film, at the level of ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Alien’.
Still I would recommend watching ‘Sunshine’. Despite its third act, it is an underrated science fiction movie that discusses themes that are relevant today and is shot beautifully from beginning to end.