Okay, this isn’t really supernatural, but about half way through, it starts to feel like a horror movie.
The sun is dying. The earth has been mined for all its nuclear material to make a very large bomb, the payload. The spaceship, Icarus 11, (Icarus 1 failed but they don’t know why) is on its way to deliver the payload into the sun and save mankind – all sounds a bit dodgy but suspend your disbelief and you’ll be fine. And of course in the vein of Deep Impact, Armageddon and every other space movie, things go very wrong. The difference between those movies and Sunshine is that Sunshine, for the first half anyway, is much more subtle. Because of its lack of action and almost arty quality, I think it suffered when it was released. Perhaps people were expecting comedy and explosion after explosion (Bruce Willis style) and they were a bit bored by Sunshine. I wasn’t.
This film is one of my favourites when it comes to space movies. As a kid I watched Space Camp almost weekly with my sisters. I was at the cinema with my dad years and years ago to see Deep Impact and I went to Sunshine with my dad too. We both thought it was great. The fact that it’s directed by Danny Boyle was a big selling point. 28 Days Later is one of the best horror films. The sense of how alone the astronauts are up there came through well. When they hear the distress sound from Icarus 1, the film really gets going. How could anyone be alive on that ship after seven years? Should they board the ship and take the second payload. Two bombs are better than one is the argument. Or should they stick to the mission? It’s up to Capa (Cillian Murphy) to decide as he’s the physicist. They board the ship, and Sunshine plunges into Horror territory after. They should have never veered off course. Hindsight is a bitch.
A sci-fi end of the world film it may be on paper, but really, it’s a drama. These people have been in space for over a year by themselves and know they’re most likely on a suicide mission. Their struggle to keep their minds on the job provides great tension. But they’re only human. They slip up, and realise, about the same time as the audience does, that they’re going to pay for their errors with their lives.
There’s a sun viewing room where the crew can sit and watch the blazing star. The sense of power emanating from the sun is impressive. The images of the sun, and there are a lot throughout this film, are gorgeous and dazzling. And on a final note, the music score is stunning.
Who’s seen this one? Are you a fan of space movies?