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  Publicity Stills of "Sunshine"
(Courtesy from 20th Century Fox)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Cillian Murphy, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh
RunTime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 5 April 2007

Synopsis :

Fifty years from now, the sun is dying, and mankind is dying with it. Our last hope: a spaceship and a crew of eight men and women. They carry a device which will breathe new life into the star. But deep into their voyage, out of radio contact with Earth, their mission is starting to unravel. There is an accident, a fatal mistake, and a distress beacon from a spaceship that disappeared seven years earlier. Soon the crew is fighting not only for their lives, but their sanity.

Movie Review:

Some called this movie “The Core” part 2 and it’s not hard to see the reason for that. A group on a long and potentially suicidal mission to jump starts a planetary size object in order to save earth. What so special about Sunshine?

On the front line, Sunshine is directed by Danny Boyle. The same guy who gave us the classic Trainspotting and he has been trailblazing his way thru Sunshine. Together with writer Alex Garland, they gave us the apocalyptic 28 days later … which made B grade zombie films fun and enjoyable to watch again .Now together they present a gauntlet for a rescues mission for an end of the world scenario.

There were a couple formulaic rehash in dealing with this sort of movie that it’s hard to avoid. If you haven’t watch that many of this type of major rescue mission movies, you might want to skip the next following paragraphs.

Rehash #1: If the crew consist of more than two or three members, they will die individually and of a different death.

Rehash #2: If your character behaved like a jerk or asshole, your death will probably be the most horrifying one.

Rehash #3: If you are the biggest star in the show, it’s likely that you will be the last one standing. (that is unless you are underpaid and your name is used to lure unsuspecting victims cinemagoers )

Rehash #4: Of course, the best laid plans will not work once it’s revealed before the execution.

However, in the hands of Danny Boyle and Alex Garland, it’s a different ball game. The characters were well cast and handled in this movie. Hiroyuki Sanada spoke better English in Sunshine than he did with Mandarin in The Promise and surprisingly with that, it was more convincing in his delivery as the capable leader with nerve of steel.

Chris Evans was once again perfect as the loose cannon in the team (think Fantastic Four) and facing such blazing inferno, I bet you will want him to say: “Flame on” at least once. At least this time round, there a method to his madness that made his character more endearing.

Together with the rest of the cast, they created a distinctive identity for each of the characters and endear themselves to the audience, creating a morality play that will engage the viewers. It poses the question of what you would do if you are in their shoes, would you take the easy way out or go with a bang.

There were some plenty after thoughts and discussion about their actions and decisions. One particularity was about the choice of scarification. The crew had to decide whether to sacrifice one of their members in order to attempt to complete the mission which could save mankind. The debate here would be that whether by using the best that the knowledge could provide to decide one person’s life or believe in that the best of your ethics could reason and leave the possibility for unexpected alternatives.

And then there thoughts presented on the minuscule action of mankind in performing an operation in such epic scale. Who are we to play God if (the Sun) what was given to us were to be taken away from us?

Morale issues aside, the cinematography and special effects did an excellent job of “reminding” us the closeness of the Sun from the crew. There also some stylish quick insertion of horrific visual to build the tempo in the most refreshing ways.

In many ways, it felt like it was a remade but with the inputs by the director, writer and cast, this film felt superior compared to the similar genre films. The visuals were excellent and it has a strong structure in telling this type of stories, making it hard to miss if you are a fan of this genre or the director and writer.

Movie Rating:

(Thoughts provoking and entertaining action film with rehash materials)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


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