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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner4/04/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

Danny Boyle's sci-fi thriller is enjoyable, well acted and packed with references throughout although it abandons its fascinating premise for a disappointingly conventional finale.

What's it all about?
Set in the not-too-distant future, Sunshine takes place aboard the spaceship Icarus II, in which eight astronauts (including Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, Chris Evans and Rose Byrne) are charged with a mission to fire a nuclear bomb into the sun, in order to jump-start it back to life.

The mission represents the Earth's last hope, so there are understandable divisions when the crew have to decide whether to answer a distress call from Icarus I, the ship from a previous mission that vanished without a trace.

The Good
The performances are superb, particularly Cillian Murphy and Rose Byrne, and there's strong support from Tory Garrity as the increasingly paranoid second-in-command and Chris Evans, who wears a serious actor's beard for the first ten minutes to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation.

In addition, the spaceship scenes are beautifully designed, particularly the observation lounge and the golden spacesuits. Boyle creates a suitably oppressive atmosphere and orchestrates some impressive suspense sequences – the scene where they have to repair damaged reflector panels before the sun hits them is a definite highlight. However, the increasingly bonkers finale outstays its welcome by a good twenty minutes or so.

The Bad
Written by Alex Garland (The Beach), Sunshine boasts an intriguing premise and Boyle packs the film with references to classics such as 2001, Alien and Silent Running without making them feel shoehorned in. The problem is that the film then goes all Event Horizon and turns into Freddy Krueger In Space, abandoning its fascinating premise for something more conventional and, ultimately, less interesting.

Worth seeing?
It's a shame that Sunshine opts to become just another popcorn flick instead of the space classic it could have been but it's still an enjoyable ride. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 27/01/2020 16:45

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