Say that in the distant future, that our sun gradually loses energy until it is unable to supply much needed sunlight to earth. This results in dark skies, more frigid climates, and a doomsday scenario looming over the populous. In an effort to save themselves, mankind sends out a lone spacecraft armed with a nuclear payload whose mission is to reignite the sun. The future of the world rests solely on the single crew operating the ship.
This is the premise and plot of Sunshine. Many things go wrong, mistakes are made, and difficult decisions are debated over, with tremendous repercussions. The characters are put under enormous stress and while watching this, I couldn't help but feel like I was part of the crew, agonizing with them all the way. This is the type of film where I wished I could pause it, then analyze and discuss the situation with the people I was watching with, before resuming the movie.
One thing that added to the enjoyment was that during the time I watched this, I was obsessed with getting lots of sunshine. I had just recently come from a place with extremely gloomy weather the past few months, and was enjoying the newly found tropical weather I was experiencing. Another thing that further enhanced the enjoyment was the excellent and classy moviehouse we watched this in (Greenbelt 3 cinema in Makati).
There were a couple of flaws in this one, most related to plot holes and dumb moves by the characters. I know these are essential to the story, but I felt it could have been explained in a more believable way without making the crew looking incompetent. I thought that the Captain was weak and he was mostly to blame for all the mistakes made. I thought he evaded responsibility and let a lot of dumb decisions get made without thinking it through. It was ridiculous how they let one guy make all the calculations on his own (without double-checking them), and going off and implementing it while the rest of the crew was asleep. Another silly thing is having only one person in the crew capable of activating the payload. You would think if that was the most important function of the ship, you'd have at least two people capable of doing it rather than having the fate of the world rest solely on one person.
My favorite crew member, hands down, would be Mace. He wasn't afraid to make the hard decisions, and made the most practical actions based on reality. I'll also have to pick Cassie (Rose Byrne) as she looked fantastic in this one.
I think by the last third of the movie, the director and writer just ran out of ideas and lost control of the script. It got very silly real fast. I just wish they had taken a more conventional approach to the ending. I'm hoping there's some sort of alternate ending in the DVD, or even revising the later parts all together. Worth noting is that the director, Danny Boyle, did the same 'silly ending' pattern in his other movie 28 Days Later, so maybe he takes a perverse enjoyment in those. Still, I'm willing to forget all the plot holes and silliness because this was fun to watch.
Rating: 3/5 * * *
Ethical dilemmas in a spaceship