Hey, I think I can see my house from here: director Danny Boyle tries to stick it where the sun doesn't shine in Sunshine.
In 1998, did anyone watch Michael Bay's Armageddon and think "this could be a good movie if someone else made it." Apparently, British director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) did and it looks like he spent some good money doing it with Sunshine. The film is slightly different, okay a lot different, other than the basic premise: Space is out to hurt the Earth, in this case the Sun is dying and needs to be reignited. So the Earth sends a ship filled with the special effect equivalent of Coleman's Instant Light Charcoal to drop it's "payload" into the Sun.
An international cast that includes the actors who played the Human Torch from the Fantastic 4 movies, Scarecrow from Batman Begins and Michelle Yeoh are the intrepid crew of the Icarus 2. All of the actors deliver fine performances, in fact Chris Evans actually surprised me by showing some depth in his heroic character. The ship is one of those long do-dads you used to see in Sci Fi like 2001 A Space Odyssey and even has an impassive talking computer. They head out to the Sun and encounter problems on top of problems-both physical and psychological. Is it sabotage, insanity or just misfortune? The movie keeps you guessing until it is time for the big reveal.
Boyle delivers a stunning vision of flashy visuals and palpable dread amid an air of existential emptiness. Space becomes a cold place where the elements are as dangerous as they are needed. Sunshine offsets shaky, blurry images against detached, graceful beauty. Through a series of events, the crew begins to die one by one adding to the tension. Meanwhile, the crew debates, bonds and fears each other as their lives are in direct danger as well as everyone on Earth if the mission fails.
I don't think I can come up with enough metaphors to describe the amazing visual work in Sunshine. Promethean themes come to the fore - is man meant to survive the end of the Sun? Does science defeat nature? What mysteries are held in the life giving and destroying heat of the Sun? While not all of the questions are answered as fully as I would have liked, Sunshine is a nightmarish yet brilliant journey through the dark heart of apocalyptic Science Fiction.