Friday, April 12, 2013

Don't take it away: Sunshine (2007)

Sunshine (2007, United Kingdom/US)
starring: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh

((Special thanks for Lord Crayak for suggesting this as a review. Never gave it a chance until you otherwise convinced me.))

I once mentioned that I'm aching to see a slasher film taking place in space. As in an original slasher taking place in space, not cheesy sequels with slasher icons being thrown into space for one Goddamn reason to the next. I know there's plenty of titles out there who tried this but for now, I'll settle with something close to it: Danny Boyle's Sunshine.
No 3D glasses required.
First looking at it, Sunshine is nothing like a slasher film with its plot: a group of eight scientists are on-route to the sun in hopes of detonating a nuclear device into it in hopes of "re-igniting" it but after their ship, Icarus II, picks up a signal from Icarus I, another ship with the same function as their own but long-forgotten since as its crew mysteriously disappeared. Seeing an opportunity to double the chances of success for their mission, they decided to board the empty ship and pilot it along with theirs. However, this tactic proves to be easier said than done as series of misfortunes, miscalculations and an unexpected survivor began to take them down, one by one.

Sunshine is not a slasher film, honestly, but the last act of the movie is what led me to consider adding this title into this site and too the fact that I really wanted to do a review to one of Danny Boyle's works. (Apart from his 28 series, I'm also a big fan of his Shallow Grave (1991)) The film owes more to sci-fi classics  such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Event Horizon or even Alien (1979) than your average teen-kill bodycount movies, making it more of an amalgamation of science fiction, psychological thriller, and drama with added levels scares and blood to build up an effective atmosphere. It wasn't until halfway into the movie, wherein only half of the crew had survived the mission so far, that the slasher talk kicks in. A bit of a spoiler though but as it turns out someone from Icarus I survived the radiation from the unshielded sunlight, goes mad (actually this guy's was already mad even before he was exposed to the sunlight) and now has boarded Icarus II, hoping to kill off everyone inside it to sabotage the mission since he believes, in doing so, he'll be doing a favor from God Himself. (Kinda ambitious for a religious nutcase, if you ask me) Next thing you know, he's chasing people across the ship with a medical device that looks like a birth child of a scalpel and an electric knife in typical stalk-and-kill fashion.

Still, Sunshine ends as a sci-fi film with a more deliberate focus on the mission and how it would go on despite the odds that kept coming at them. Just as Boyle once stated about his movies, it's a film about overcoming impossible challenges and Sunshine took these grounds to the stars in an epic piece of pure sci-fi trappings, all the while keeping as much realism as possible. (No laser guns here, just ordinary people pitting against celestial nature. Think Deliverance in Space!)
For a movie about the sun,
we also got some cold contrasts when it comes to the deaths.
Now even though the story is something to praise for, I do gripe for this movie's technical aspects, moreover its editing. I wouldn't complain about the actors since the cast are great and well-rehearsed for their roles, and I wouldn't say ill about the special effects of this movie as it shifts from CG to practical from time to time, much with great effect, and I adore the cinematography of this movie (the sun and its close-up never looked so beautiful and intimidating at the same time!); but the music video-style editing on some of the scenes were kinda distracting, especially during the time when our slasher starts menacing the remaining team mates. I'm sure it's to show how crazy the situation was but overall, it didn't work too well for me. There's also some pacing problems here, with too much sciency dialogue that can leave non-scifi fan like me lost with the conversation so that's one point down for me but I'm sure, in the right audience, that could be a keeper.
When Freddy Krueger goes Scifi.
I like epic movies in a more natural scale, those that probably I can finish in one sitting without waiting for a sequel in a year or two (hence why I'm no fan of the Happy Potter and LOTR series); Sunshine is one of those fine example, but not without its own bumps and cracks. Pacing and wild editing aside, though, the movie's isn't all that bad; featuring some of the cruelest deaths on screen and one big premise for a plot, you could either love, hate or just accept without thinking much about it. It's really deep in a sense that it questions a lot of subjects ranging from religion to the palce of mankind in the universe, but this didn't sink in quite well to me. I'm sure some guy or gal out there can appreciate Sunshine more than I did, and it could be you, reader!

1 male burned alive in solar flare
5 males and 2 females found burned to death after being exposed to unshielded sunlight
1 male knocked into space and froze in sub-zero temperature
1 male exposes himself to unshielded sunlight
1 male found dead with wrist cuts
1 female stabbed through the back with scalpel
1 male trapped inside a coolant reservoir, froze to death
2 males and 1 female killed in bomb detonation
total: 16


  1. Never heard of Spaceship Killer until now. Looks sweet.

    "Special thanks for Lord Crayak for suggesting this as a review. Never gave it a chance until you otherwise convinced me."

    Yay, my meddling succeeds!

    "Think Deliverance in Space!"

    In space... no one can hear you squeal.

  2. Yes, yer meddling had succeed on having me rent this DVD for three days, along with the entire Omen series collection. I think I found my next reviews...

  3. I'm a huge Danny Boyle fan, but Susnhine didn't do anything for me. A mediocre wannabe-2001 with a leftover-zombie from 28 Days Later *yawn* ;)

    1. No, I think that guy's more like Doctor William Weir from Even Horizon only crispier...lol

  4. supernova was like this one. a ship answers a guy's distress signal and picks him up, but he turns out to be a superhuman psycho who starts chasing down and killing them.

    1. ...Holy shit guys, stop giving me these suggestions! I live in a country that hardly carry these kind of titles! lol alright, I'm gonna try that one next if I can find it! thanks!