I feel like I should call it “Danny Boyle’s Sunshine” as I keep hearing reading. I don’t know what it is, but a ton of movies for me lately fall apart in the third act. This movie was no different. I really could’ve done without the monster guy. I think the movie would’ve been more interesting as a character study of a team dedicated to a mission coming to grips with their pending, certain mortality. Hell they could’ve even made one of the guys really go crazy and have the mentality of the monster guy.
The movie looks amazing. Danny Boyle’s moviemaking is certainly slick. The audio of this movie is excellent as well. Great use of score versus silence.
I was really surprised by the performances in this movie. I really enjoyed Chris Evans work in London [DVD | Video on Demand], but let’s be honest, he’s the guy from Fantastic Four [Blu-ray | DVD]. But I thought he was really effective in this role. Cillian Murphy was okay. Rose Byrne was basically wasted. Michelle Yeoh had a nice moment. The white guy from Barbershop [DVD], Troy Garity, was surprisingly good and his moment turning from someone dedicated to the mission to someone facing his own mortality was very effective. My favorite performance was Hiroyuki Sanada as Kaneda. I’d have to say most people probably know him from The Last Samurai [Blu-ray | DVD]. He definitely presented kind of the calming authoritative captain of the Icarus II, the spaceship.
So the first two-thirds of the movie was very good, but the final act battling the monster was just crap. It totally went from a character study to a basic thriller/slasher movie. And for what? For nothing! It was just crap at the end. Honestly, at the risk of sounding like I’m ripping off the Slashfilmcast guys, Solaris [DVD] did a much better job of this kind of movie. I find Solaris is kind of an old school sci-fi movie that deals with characters using space as a backdrop. But most current sci-fi movies, Sunshine included, are basically monster movies and only tangentially use the vastness of space or other themes that sci-fi was made for. Sunshine was on track to really be that kind of movie, but then just derailed into monster territory. Still a very good movie.
“Still a very good movie”… why, exactly? What I saw was a movie about a bunch of so-called professionals acting like undisciplined, squabbling idiots when they were supposed to be saving the world. It isn’t just Monster Man; the thing starts out dumb and only goes downhill from there. Alex Garland couldn’t write his way out of a tree if someone tied a rope to him and pulled. Or do we have to like everything Danny Boyle does now, now that he’s got his fifteen minutes of darlinghood with “Slumdog Millionaire”…?
Well I’d argue that the “so-called professionals acting like undisciplined, squabbling idiots” had to do with kind of going stir crazy, also coming to grips with a realization that they might not survive the mission. I thought it worked, as I said in my post, on some level as a character study. What do people in pressure situations do?
Oh, believe me, I don’t love Danny Boyle because of “Slumdog.” That movie was fine and all, but definitely not deserving of such ridiculous hype. The reason I think it’s a good movie is, to repeat myself from above again (sorry, I really should come up with better arguments), because it’s sci-fi without the sci-fi. Yeah it has the Monster Man, but it’s not like aliens and laser and shit. I thought Solaris did it better (Solaris was good, but not great as well). Using space and the circumstances as the backdrop, not the plot.
And I’m always a little too forgiving of movies that look amazing. And while it’s CGI and whatnot a lot, I thought it was a pretty nice looking movie.