Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi / Thriller


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March 04, 2013 at 07:34 PM



Chris Evans as Mace
Rose Byrne as Cassie
Cillian Murphy as Robert Capa
Mark Strong as Pinbacker
720p 1080p
701.36 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 47 min
P/S 10 / 50
1.45 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 47 min
P/S 4 / 96

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Mr_PCM 9 / 10

A terrific study in sanity

How would we cope under the most extreme circumstances imaginable? That is the question posed by Danny Boyle's latest offering, and the answer seems to be that anybody can be pushed over the edge, it is just a question of what and how much it takes.

Danny Boyle seems unable to settle on a genre specialty, but it also seems that whatever he turns his hand to he can make work (with the exception of romantic comedy - A Life Less Ordinary anyone?). In his latest, the sun is dying, and we join the 2nd attempt to try and restart the star by delivering a nuclear bomb to kick-start it. Having been alone in space for the past 16 months, the eight-man crew is approaching its destination, but nerves are starting to fray. Then they pick up a signal rom the ship that made the first, unsuccessful, attempt. Inevitably they go and investigate, and problems ensue. When the inevitable disaster occurs, jeopardising the mission, we begin to see how people deal with extreme circumstances, and how their sanity is affected, in different ways. Elements are recognisable from Alien, Solaris and Event Horizon, and the film certainly benefits from all of those influences. The claustrophobia, the understated technology, the dark corridors, the unseen menace, all recognisable but effectively used.

This is not a typical science fiction per se. There are no aliens, no space battles, and no ultra-advanced technology on show. Instead Boyle chooses a more philosophical tangent, leading to questions of exactly what defines humanity, and the value of a single life weighed against the future of mankind.

The casting is excellent, with many recognisable but no particularly famous faces, the biggest names being Batman Begins' Cillian Murphy and Fantastic Four's Chris Evans. This lack of star names, combined with a cast of only the eight crew somehow makes the loneliness and the feeling of being a huge distance from home with a long way to go seem even more real. We really begin to feel with the crew as they try to hold it together long enough to complete their vital mission. Cillian Murphy in particular is a piece of inspired casting, as in many of his roles he has always appeared on the very brink of insanity anyway, so he has the close-to-crazy act down to a tee.

The CGI of the sun is extremely impressive, particularly considering the relatively low budget of the film, and the simple but intense story has viewers on the edge of the seat virtually from first act to last. The suspense is built gradually but extremely effectively, to the extent where you can feel your sanity heading the way of the astronauts' as the conclusion approaches with increasing speed.

Overall a very effective study in what a tenuous thing sanity is when faced with huge odds and a great threat. Thrilling, gripping and thought-provoking, and another genre nailed by Boyle - now if only he could crack that pesky rom-com!

Reviewed by Sevenmercury7 7 / 10

Nearly there

I'm sure many reviews will say something similar: This is two-thirds of a great sci-fi movie. Specifically, the first two thirds. Natural characters, intelligent dialogue, stunning visuals; I was thoroughly immersed in this philosophical disaster movie in space. Heck, even the moody, modern, sentimental score worked.

The central premise concerns humanity's last hope for survival: the Icarus II (EXTREMELY dumb name for a ship travelling to the sun, if you remember the Greek legend), whose crew must re-ignite said star with a nuclear bomb the size of Manhattan island. It's distant future stuff, but the filmmakers work hard at establishing plausibility. They certainly achieve it. Impressive.

Cast-wise, it's an eclectic group. Cillian Murphy gets the starring role, and he's good. Maybe it's just me, but he always looks slightly psychotic - something to do with the eyes perhaps? Anyway, he's a quirky and soulful leading man.

Nice work by Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne and Cliff Curtis. Not one weak link in the multinational cast.

I thought Chris Evans stole the acting honours. Despite his character's hot temper, he gave gravitas to every decision, and they included some pretty big ones. He's the pragmatic member of the group; logic's on his side, and he knows it.

The introduction of Icarus I to the second half of the story (the previous ship that mysteriously failed) is not handled particularly well. The crew's decision to deviate from the mission is a poor one, and has disastrous consequences. Later on, a horror element is introduced which is just laughable. All the filmmakers' hard work peters out in a third act of blurry shots, shaky cams and incomprehensible cuts.

Overall, 'Sunshine' is a real mixed bag. Director Danny Boyle and his cast work hard to create a believable scenario. The special effects really are special. I think the fault here lies with writer Garland, whose third act is derivative, contrived, and not worthy of the rest of this fine film.

Reviewed by chaney1888 1 / 10

I couldn't find the "off" switch for my brain

Two things up front: Firstly, anyone who's read this far into the reviews knows the plot of this thing (astronauts chucking a bomb-- if not themselves-- into the dying sun in order to revive it). Secondly, the following is as disjointed as the film it addresses.

So many glowing reviews I've read for "Sunshine" seem to center around the idea that one must simply give in to the power and majesty of the film's visuals. That is to say, one must in the presence of "Sunshine" emphasize oohing and ahhing over thinking.

I'm sorry: I can't do that. Ironically, if "Sunshine" were being touted as a dumb bit of fluff, I'd be far more likely to take it at face value. But "Sunshine"'s makers and culties have trumpeted their darling as a slice of intelligent sci-fi, oh-so-rare these days, etc.

Frankly, it's not. That "intelligent" thing. Not a bit of it.

Thoughts: If you hire a physicist to act as a consultant on your film, and if your screenwriter concocts backstories for your characters, and if you house your actors in bare-bones student digs and send them up in airplanes that permit them to experience zero-g, all so that they feel like "real" astronauts, and if all that consulting and all those stories and all that experience don't end up on the screen-- i.e., if you expect us viewers to mine the film's websites for this science and these tales-- then you as a filmmaker (that means you, Mr. Boyle) haven't done your job. Simple.

We don't know who these characters are, so we don't care about them. Sure, Rose Byrne has her teary brown doe-eyes, so she captures an instant sympathy vote, and Hiroyuki Sanada draws us in with his calm and his silky voice. But the rest of 'em? Cillian Murphy comes off as a stoner and a bit of a jerk, and Chris Evans tries desperately to make something of the "duty" card he's been dealt, but the rest of 'em are ciphers. Alex Garland seems to think that character development is for sissies-- or that it's certainly not important if you have a Big Idea (here "Our Lives Are Secondary to the Saving of All Humanity, Dontchaknow"). I politely suggest that he's dead wrong. If we don't give a rat's patootie about the characters, we certainly won't care about the idea in the service of which they're acting.

And not only are they ciphers: they're inconsistent, too. Early on, Mace goads Capa, the only one capable of operating the stellar bomb (in itself a ridiculous idea: what, in sixteen months, Capa couldn't train a backup to turn the key and press the "LAUNCH" button? Job security, I guess.), into performing a highly dangerous repair job outside the ship. Then, later, when he and Capa and another of the Icarus II's hapless crew must execute an ill-advised human-cannon trick between two crippled airlocks (a situation that falls squarely between "Don't ask." and "What the hell?"), Mace insists that Capa take the only available spacesuit, as he's indispensable to the mission. Sure, Mace earlier may have been feeling piqued and petty, Capa having pulled a bit of a careless dumb with regard to their window for sending messages home, but the fact here is that it's not my job to make Mace's excuses. It's Mr. Garland's job, and his script simply doesn't deliver.

Don't try to cover up the paper-thinness of your story by snowing us with special effects. It's insulting and annoying. Just how many useless beauty shots of the Icarus II does this movie contain, anyway? Not one of them helps us to know where we are on the ship. Also: if you can't afford the effects you wanted for your third-act mad slasher (did I already mention the "Don't ask." thing?), don't try to cover by shaking the camera and overexposing your shots every time said slasher is on screen. That takes "annoying" clear up to "blatantly irritating."

Smart people creating jeopardy by making dumb choices or nonsensically arbitrary decisions is less likely to evoke sympathy than smart people who find themselves in peril because of natural disasters or mechanical catastrophes. That is, a supposedly smart guy who makes a calculation that leads to half a spaceship going up in flames is less likely to earn a "You poor people!" from me than, say, a freak solar flare that leads to half of said spaceship going up in flames. And have I mentioned yet how much I despise selectively "smart" computers? As in, a computer that talks to you and calls you by name and yet can't tell you when half your spaceship has just caught on fire? (Not that it's entirely the computer's fault here, the fire thing: it happens during one of "Sunshine"'s many randomly placed beauty shots, so it's quite likely that the computer, like the viewing audience, isn't sure if the ship that catches fire is actually the Icarus II, the ship on which Our Story is taking place. "Oh, look: there's a ship on fire over there. Hey-- do you smell smoke...?")

Selective flammability: Not only do Capa and the film's Mystery Slasher not burn up when Capa, hoping to effect a desperate getaway, yells "Full sunlight!" in the observation lounge of the Icarus II, the lounge itself doesn't burn up. By comparison, when the show's nutter psychologist (again: don't ask) tries the "full sunlight" thing, he burns up just fine, thank you.

So: who gets the star? It's a split: Chris Evans, who tries so desperately to be the voice of reason (if only for a moment) on this ship of fools, and Underworld and John Murphy, who were obviously watching a much more intelligent, moving, and dramatic film when they concocted the score.

Even though it's rare to see a movie so lovingly misconceived, you'd be wise to give this a miss. Dumb, depressing, muddled, and thoroughly unentertaining.

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