Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nothing New Under The Sun

Sunshine, Odeon Telford, Saturday April 7 2007, 1pm.

Set so far in the future that concerns about global warming are so last century, Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007) sees a crack team of pan-global specialists sent into space to explode a star into the golden-oldie sun to give it a bit of a kick-start after it shows signs of being a little poorly and thus scheduled to condemn Planet Earth to a dark, cold future uninhabitable by mankind.

Therefore, to summarise, we're in a future where folks are either so clever they've devised ways of defying the laws of physics, or there's simply just better access to a greater range of mind-bending drugs. Maybe it's the latter, because all this bright science stuff notwithstanding, multitasking clearly isn't possible - there's only one person on board who actually knows how to press the few buttons needed to detonate 'the payload' so just as well that the puny physicist concerned is played by the film's best known star (28DL's Cillian Murphy).

I know what you're thinking - Dead Kenny, you're not taking this movie anywhere near seriously enough! And you're probably right, because Sunshine is best enjoyed as the live-action equivalent of a particularly po-faced episode of Fireball XL5. The acting is competent, the visuals suitably stunning, the special effects appropriately retina-scorching and the action is moderately gripping throughout without ever quite setting the heart pacing. This is at least partly due to the lack of real depth given to any of the jeopardised characters, the absence of foregrounding seriously damaging the film's attempted volte-face into theological/spiritual areas towards the genuinely strange denouement.

The result is a movie which supplies efficient entertainment but whose surface sheen and shorthand cool can only mask for so long a fundamental lack of brains, heart and soul. This proves a fatal flaw, condemning Sunshine to forever remain in the shadow of superior space operas like 2001, Solaris and Silent Running.



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