Rating 2

Directed by Danny Boyle

Written by Alex Garland

Starring Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity and Benedict Wong

When I was a boy I was obsessed with Space. I read as many books about Astronomy as I could lay my hands on and watched all the scientific documentaries shown on television. Later on, I started to read science fiction novels, starting with the famous C S Lewis sci-fi trilogy and then working my way through anything and everything until I settled on Isaac Asimov as my favourite writer within the genre.

There was a time when I would probably have adored ‘Sunshine’, but that time past many years ago now. I was still looking forward to watching it, but with a certain degree of trepidation, and I wasn’t surprised when it proved to be all somewhat underwhelming and disappointing.

Where to start? I quite enjoyed ‘Shallow Grave’ and ’28 Days Later’, but hated ‘Trainspotting’ with a passion, and I could never bring myself to watch ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ or ‘The Beach’. So, my opinion of Danny Boyle is rather mixed. I’ve liked Cillian Murphy in everything I’ve seen him in so far and I remembered Hiroyuki Sanada from ‘Ringu’ and ‘Ringu 2’, but apart from Chris Evens, I wasn’t especially familiar with the rest of the cast.

The characters exist within tried and tested templates for this kind of film, as does the visual look of it, which is quite arresting for a time, certainly until everything just seems to fall apart in the dreadful last twenty minutes or so. It’s possible to name several previous films that clearly could lay claim as an influence – ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (which casts a giant shadow over all films of this type), ‘Solyaris’, ‘Silent Running’, ‘Alien’ and ‘Event Horizon’ immediately come to mind.

The film is obviously trying to make a statement about our relationship with God and our relationship with Nature. I would assume current concerns about global warming and the future of our planet are at the root of it all. That is fair enough, but ultimately it struck me as being a piece of intellectual gobbledy-gook.

I did like some of the music and the early scenes were just about interesting enough to keep me watching. Murphy is an actor able to maintain the attention of the viewer. That aside, it was okay, but I could have had more fun watching an episode of ‘Red Dwarf’, quite frankly.

A point in the film’s favour is that, like ‘Serenity’, it presupposes that China and America will form the two giant global economic superpowers of the future. However, unlike the horrible Joss Whedon film, it actually manages to include some Asian characters above and beyond condescending bit-part stereotypes.

The reviews were largely very positive, but the film failed to perform with any great gusto at the box office, grossing just under $32 million worldwide, less than $4 million of that coming from its American run.


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