Oct 1, 2012
SHOCKtober Day 1: Sunshine
Lawd a lawdy, I do so love all things outer space. This love goes back to my formative years, although perhaps every kid is enamoured with the stars and such? If they're not, they certainly should be...although I will say I grew up during a pretty damn good period for that love to blossom: after the Apollo years, but smack in the middle of the Space Shuttle years. It certainly helped that pop culture was also experiencing a bit of AstroFever, what with the Star Wars and the Star Trek movies and the Space: 1999 and the Battlestar Galactica and The Last Starfighter and yeah, even the Space Invaders and the Asteroids.
In another lifetime, perhaps, I will do something with all of this love I have for the final frontier. Maybe instead of just...umm...shedding a few holy fucking shit tears as I did whilst watching JPL engineers watch screens telling them that Curiosity landed on Mars (ON MARS YOU GUYS), I will be more like one of my college friends, who helped build this.
In this lifetime, though, it is not to be. My brain is simply not wired that way, and while sometimes that makes me sad or I find myself angrily shaking my fist at my brain for not being more practical, I've accepted it. I also realize that at times, I have an advantage over my science-leaning brethren for you see, I can pop in a spacetastic film like Sunshine and watch it safely from the "I don't know any better" zone. I am dazzled and ignorant, never bogged down by "well, that math is wrong" or "that is completely impossible because of reasons and science"...I just go with it all. I tells ya, it's a wonderful zone in which to be! (see also: enjoying Prometheus)
So does this tale of astronauts on a journey to launch a bomb with a mass equal to Manhattan into the sun in order to "jump start" said sun because it's dying contain dubious science despite the obvious intelligence of the script? I DON'T KNOW AND I DON'T CARE.
Spur of the moment life-or-death decisions...Icarus II receiving a distress signal from Icarus I, the first ship sent on this same mission and lost seven years prior...watching tensions rise and potentially rip the crew apart...all of it makes Sunshine a particularly riveting film that's absolutely gorgeous to boot.
It's a shame, then, when the movie heads off the rails and devolves into more familiar "there's a monster on the ship" territory. It all wraps up too quickly and at a disservice to the characters, the previous 3/4 of the film, and the audience. This is not to say that as a whole, it's not a terrific package because it really is. You know how it is, though...sometimes films take a sharp turn at some point and whatever's around the corner works for you or it doesn't. The final act of Sunshine doesn't quite work for me, but it doesn't negate the thrills I get out of the rest of it. Space porn, Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, a sexy ship computer voice, and Michelle fucking Yeoh are more than good enough for this ignoramus! As for how I feel about it in my next lifetime, though, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
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