This was not a bad movie.
I’m a sucker for psychological horror in spaaaaaaace and this was a prime example of that. It’s not a great movie, but it was… entertaining. This may have been because I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from it.
The conceit behind Sunshine is ridiculous, of course. If you’re watching a movie for SCIENCE you should probably just… stop. The premise is, hey, the sun is dying! Humanity launches a manned spaceflight to save it! By launching some sort of superior nuclear physics-thing bomb into the sun!
This is why it took me so long to see this movie. How utterly stupid, right? I haven’t seen The Core either, and I was leery of this damn thing turning into the ridiculous gore-fest that was Event Horizon. I’ll take crappy science over crappy, nonsensical gore any day (I found Sunshine far creepier than Event Horizon, actually. It’s all about what you don’t know and what you don’t see. The more gore, the more ridiculous the movie, for me. I prefer subtlety).
But, see, Sunshine had what a lot of crappy-science movies don’t have: an excellent cast, great effects, tight and suspenseful direction, AMAZING soundtrack, and wonderfully creepy shenanigans. All that… in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace.
And who doesn’t love adventures in space?
The cast included Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh, which gives you an idea of how seriously (B+/A- movie actor seriously) the cast took it movie. And trust me, that helps. It reminded me a lot of alien in that way – you put a strong cast and creepy direction into a lost in space movie, and you can carry it a long way.
The cast was reasonably diverse, split pretty evenly between white and Asian characters (tho at the end of the day, it was still white guys saving the world and fighting each other. The captain, psychologist, and navigation guys all check out pretty early. And the female characters only seemed to make it so far into the movie so somebody could be menaced at the end – would have preferred it was the navigation chick who got frozen to death trying to save the ship instead of held off til the end so she would go down with the male lead, but – you win some, you lose some).
Overall, it was a well-paced movie right up until those last 10-15 minutes, when things got weird. And yes, in case you’re wondering, in a movie about a group of people who are *restarting the sun* there are a LOT of moments where you just have to let them handwave-handwave their way out of things. Like how the fuck is he hanging onto the ass-end of a spaceship whose rockets just went off must be ignored… and there are lots of cut-aways of even more improbable scenes like how he then opened up the airlock and crawled inside while the rocket boosters are STILL GOING OFF (and let’s not get started with the whole “oxygen garden” business, or the space walking suits, or the ridiculous observation window).
But if you liked Pitch Black, I think you’ll like Sunshine. Good cast and a lot of fun so long as you don’t think about it too much. I rate it slightly better than Babylon A.D., mainly because the ending to that fucking movie was about on par with Padme’s “lost the will to live” bullshit. I will make many allowances for my SF popcorn, but empty vessel female characters are not one of them.