In the past, Danny Boyle’s handling of different stories and genres has been impressive. From the heroin-chic ‘Trainspotting,’ to the zombie (although they’re not technically zombies,) thriller ’28 Days Later,’ to his so-called kids movie, ‘Millions,’ Boyle does what the story requires. And in his newest movie, and re-teaming with ’28 Days’ writer Alex Garland, Boyle offers his take on the sci-fi action thriller.
Some years in the future, a spacecraft loaded with a thermonuclear payload is bound for the dying sun, hoping dropping the payload will rejuvenate the sun and save a dying earth. The project is dubbed ‘Icarus’ and the ship we see in the opening frames of ‘Sunshine’ is ‘Icraus II.’ The original Icraus disappeared years before. This most recent mission is also a last stab at saving the world.
Everything is going swimmingly aboard ‘Icarus II’ until they have a problem with the computer running the ship and they come across ‘
Maybe everyone onboard ‘Icarus I’ isn’t dead, seven years after they lost trace of them on Earth. Maybe the crew is slowly going mad. Is there some un-seen, external force that doesn’t want them to succeed?
Boyle and Gartland have an expertly crafted story which does a good job of projecting what science may be forced to do in the future as well as handling the mystery and majesty of the universe in a way that’s believable. No one in the film is bored by the sights, like in other sci-fi movies. In fact, there’s a room onboard where, using special filters and sunglasses, you can see the sun and the planets as they pass by. In one of the better scenes in the film, the captain presents a passing planet to an excited crew. It is also this fascination that, as one crew member is forced to turn and face the sun while on a spacewalk and facing imminent immolation, a crew member gets over the communication system and pleads with him to explain what he is looking at.
The pace and speed of the film is deliberate and sometimes, a little slow. However, there are busts of action and surprise waiting around most of the movie’s dark corners.
The end of the movie turns confusing and a little overcomplicated. What is trying to stop them from accomplishing their mission? Why does this being want them to fail? I’m not sure that the movie answers these questions. However, it does answer and quite well, the mystery and majesty of outer space. -Sam