A while back, I posted an article reminding people about this film, and linking to its official website's exclusive first look at footage from the movie I'd been really curious about this project: a space epic from the director of TRAINSPOTTING and 28 DAYS LATER sounded mighty intriguing. But...would it work?
As it happens, Evil Drunken Stepdad just wrote in with some answers; he recently got a look at a not final edit of the film.
The verdict? "Great but flawed".
Several people have alluded to the film having something of a "supernatural" element. I 'd love to know more about this, as the image I'm conjuring is pretty much SOLAR CRISIS meets EVENT HORIZON. That can't be right, can it? Certainly it's not. PLEASE don't let that be right....
Here's Evil Drunken Stepdad with his thoughts...
Hey AICN folks, lemme get one thing straight, I LOVE Danny Boyle. I think Trainspotting was a disturbingly real look at the lifestyles of a druggie, growing up it was one of my favorites (maybe because at that age R rated films were taboo for me), and I thought that 28 Days later was a kick in the ass for zombie films, the ignition that got the genre on the right track again. I’ve always dug his unique and original style of direction, and in today’s world of cookie-cutter by the book films, any originality in films makes me give it extra bonus points. Films like Sin City, Sky Captain, and Kill Bill, all great films, but made that much better because of their willingness to be different, and Danny Boyle is the head of that field.
So when I went to see clerks 2 (freakin’ loved it by the way), I got an invite to see a new film simply referred to as “untitled” at a “secret location”, I signed right up. 24 hours later we were loading onto a bus and taken to Fox studios in LA, where we were greeted and told that the film we were going to see was Danny Boyle’s new film Sunshine, and I couldn’t be happier. It was still under construction, and many of the effects were still incomplete. I’ll keep this as spoiler free as possible.
The film revolves around the crew of the Icarus II, a space station charged with the mission of “re-activating” the sun. In the future, the Sun is beginning to die, and the only way to keep it going is for the Icarus to deliver a secret payload into the core and fuel the fusion sequence. You may be wondering “what happened to the Icarus I?” Well to be honest, we don’t know. We know that it disappeared right before it was about to deliver the payload, and as the Icarus II is nearing it’s target location, they pick up a distress beacon.
In the first part of the film, the movie works very well as a solid science fiction movie. It explores the horrors of space without using aliens, the duties of humanity towards one another, and self-sacrifice for the greater good. But when the film adds the supernatural element, it becomes a thriller/mystery of the highest caliber.
The Icarus II is severely damaged, and forced to dock with the remains of Icarus I, and it’s here that the supernatural element is added. What happened to the crew? Who sabotaged them? So many questions, not enough answers!
So I thought this was a great film, but flawed.
The great things about it were the cast, Cillian Murphy is as resplendent as ever, and Hiroyuki Sanada was amazing in his underplayed role, just like Last Samurai. But the real treat of the film was the surprising turn from Chris Evans, that’s right folks, Johny Storm is back. While he was the one bright spot in the Fantastic Four (or so I thought), he is truly in his element in this film, a role so utterly well done that I like him all the more for it, I gotta watch this kid now. The rest of the cast does a good job, but it’s these three that really stood out in my mind.
As I said earlier, this is a great sci-fi film, but the suspense is what really kicks it over the edge into possible greatness. Coupled with Boyle’s direction style, this film comes out like 2001 on crack. Sadly, this is one of its’ greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses, but it’s not because of the movie, it’s because of the audience. The worst thing about my generation is that we can’t accept a good movie unless it is unoriginal and uninspired. I saw true movie geeks there like myself licking up every moment of the film, but I also saw a lot of people my age not into it at all. If it doesn’t have Matthew McConaughey trying to swoon (insert popular young actress here), then girls of my generation don’t like it. If it doesn’t have (insert generic action star here) trying to avenge the death of his partner by going outside the law, then guys of my generation hate it. Kinda sad, but true, I mean listen to the music we like, pathetic! I heard one guy my age say the words “Event Horizon was WAY better man!” nuff’ said.
There are problems with the film however, albeit limited in view of the good things. The first is the supernatural element itself. The film does such a good job of making you wonder what the hell is going on that when it actually enters the film, it’s kinda disappointing. It’s really not all that intimidating or scary when you get down to it, and they don’t explain what drove this type of behavior in the first place. Another problem deals with the scares of the film Boyle uses 2 types of scares, subtle and spooky environments (done perfectly), and ear-drum popping jolts. The former are by far more effective, and I’ve always thought that loud noises were never very effective when inducing scares.
All in all though, I really liked this film, and I can’t wait to see what you guys think about it. I’d highly recommend it, Danny Boyle fan or not. If you decide to print this, call me…
Evil Drunken Stepdad.