Movie of the Day – Sunshine

While it is a particularly hot and sunny day today, I guess this influenced my decision on what movie to select for today’s article.  Since it is a Science Fiction movie, this is an instant pick in my books since I love the genre.   Sunshine isn’t a typical science fiction movie.  There isn’t aliens or lasers or even hot alien chicks with lasers. Sunshine is about a group of intrepid astronauts being sent on a mission to the sun.  The premise itself is intriguing, but the film raises the bar just a bit in terms of substance and realism.  The movie is a combination of drama and psychological suspense, where we are placed into the middle of a mission and the weight of humanity will rest upon the crew’s success.

Sunshine follows the story of the crew aboard the Icarus II.  They are sent to finish the mission of the previous ship, Icarus I and have only one shot to reignite the dying sun.  Humanity’s last hope is placed up the shoulders of an international crew of scientists and astronauts.  While on course towards the sun, a malfunction of the ship’s protective shielding has severely damaged the ship and compromised several crew members.  With a handicapped ship, the crew stumble upon the signal of the Icarus I and find the ship and original payload intact.  While attempting to board the ship and learn about the fate of the first crew, their ship suffers another set back.  The crew of the Icarus II must make a difficult decision in terms of crew safety and completing their mission.

If there is one thing to highlight about the movie, that is the visual effects.  The portrayal of the Sun and space is incredible and rich with detail.  The flyby that the crew does around Mars is stunning and the visual of the Sun frames the movie with this larger sense of scope and meaning.  The beauty of the planets and sun just helped to enhance the movie overall.  There is also something to be said about the set design and the construction of the small living quarters.  You get a claustrophobic sense of containment, but the also that the crew have made this bland ship into something homely.  The oxygen garden is beautiful and even the AI Core has a bit of character to it.

Now with every sci-fi movie set in space, there are going to be some general complaints.  No sound in space, no explosions, and every ship has working gravity.  This movie has those same inaccuracies but I won’t gripe about them since this is a movie.  The best aspect of the film came from the psychological aspect of the movie, namely the psychological impact of extended space travel.  In the movie, the tensions run high between the crew.  The crew have been traveling to the sun for years and the only thing keeping the sane is the communications they send back home.  So while the crew deal with the thought of being gone so long and having them be Earth’s last hope, there is another crew member that dances with a dangerous notion.  The crews psychologist spends hours on end in the observation deck of the ship, peering into the vastness of space and looking at the sun.  The ship has safety measures to keep the dangerous levels of light and heat of the sun from hurting the ship or people, but the crew members pushes the limit of those safety measures.  He takes in the raw power of the sun, being amazed at this scientific wonder.  In some ways this befitting and scary.  What it must feel like to be that close to the sun, taking in its magnificence and peering into the object that gives life to the Earth.

There is an interesting theme in the movie that revolves around the name of the ship.  I have always been puzzled as to why the ship is named after a tragic character in Greek Mythology.  Icarus flew to close to the sun and died because never heeded the word of his fathers about flying to close to the sun or the sea.  We give our spacecrafts and satellite probes hopeful names, never ones that have a meaning of failure or death.  I sometimes wonder if the name was meant to be used a tool for defiance.  The ones who named the ship perhaps meant to show that man can overcome the faults of Icarus and come close to the sun, almost touching it, defying the laws of nature.  Or there is the notion that the name is given in vain, that those that will take this journey will not come back.

There is a lot to think about in this movie, more so for me and maybe not so much you.  I mean I spend too much time looking into the meaning of movies, specifically sci-fi movies, hoping to get more out of it.  But Sunshine is beautiful and deep movie that is very underrated.  While I enjoyed the movie, there were some things in the movie that I though was a weird inclusion by Danny Boyle, namely the entire third act of the film as it changes from this sci-fi drama to a, well, horror movie.  It just took me out of the movie a bit, but overall a gorgeous movie to watch and music is sweeping and grandiose.  John Harper and Underworld composed a fantastic score that brought elements of hope or dips into the abyss of human emotions.

The movie isn’t available on Netflix instant stream, but you should put this in your queue as soon as you can.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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