Yeah, SUNSHINE is still good. It’s kinda like ALIEN but with a (SPOILER) naked crazy dude instead of an alien. Like the alien the crazy naked dude is sneaking around unseen for most of the movie, but a naked dude is harder to pull off special effects-wise than an alien so you never do see him clearly. The camera and editing program start freaking out every time he shows up, like he’s giving off some kind of interference.
A crazy naked dude doesn’t have a projectile mouth, he doesn’t have acid blood. But he’s just as unexpected on a ship with only a few crew members. And he knows how to stab people. In a way he could be more dangerous than an alien because he knows how the ship works and intentionally tries to sabotage their mission.
Their mission, remember, is just a little thing to, you know, stop the entire human race from being destroyed because the sun is dying. They gotta drop a “payload” into the sun and that may or may not reignite it. So that’s a big difference from ALIEN is these aren’t just space workers, they’re humanity’s last hope. And the pressure from that takes a toll. It’s what creates crazy naked dudes. Alien is to Alien Queen as Crazy Naked Dude is to Pressure That If You Fuck Up the Entire Human Race Will Die.
I never disliked the crazy naked dude aspect like some do. But definitely the best stuff in the movie is just dealing with the mission and the problems that come up that wouldn’t have to be sabotage, they could also just be bad luck or inevitable technical difficulties. The crew have to deal with how hard it is to get along in a situation like this. I mean, many people get in arguments with their loved ones just from going on a vacation to a fun place. Imagine having to live on a space ship with a guy you disagree with and have to work together to save the whole damn planet. There’s gonna be some bickering, right? That’s why in this movie there are two (2) different Captain America vs. The Scarecrow fights.
They have disagreements about how to deal with equipment failures or the possibility of using the abandoned ship from a previous attempt to improve the chances of the mission. They always want to save each other and themselves, but also know that the payload is the priority. Survival of human race > getting home.
When their garden is destroyed in a fire that means they won’t have enough oxygen to make it. But what if 2 of them are dead, then wouldn’t it be enough? And if so, which two should they kill? On reality competition shows there’s always at least one asshole that justifies being an asshole by saying “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to win.” Hopefully those people have all frozen their dicks off on the cold, sunless earth, but up on the Icarus it’s true, it really is more important to succeed than to be nice to each other. They get a Get Out of Jail For Being An Asshole Free card.
But seriously, which are the best crew members to kill to save oxygen? This is the kind of issue they face every ten minutes or so. Stressful job.
But the “psych officer” (Cliff Curtis, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD) has found a real good way to relax. We see right at the beginning how he likes to go into a special viewing room where he can stare at the sun. Just a wall of fire that starts to surround him, the opposite of total darkness, a type of sensory deprivation. It seems to be hallucinogenic, maybe addictive. He philosophizes about it and everybody rolls their eyes. He starts to be a little chapped and burnt later on, and I think the burns we see on crazy naked dude imply that he also was addicted to the ol’ sun staring. So that’s the direction our psychiatric expert here could be headed.
It’s a great cast. Standouts are Curtis (who sits in his shades and worries about pulling out one of his hairs while they’re discussing the dire state of the mission), Chris Evans (who is brash and can come off as a dick but proves to be correct, full of good ideas and ready to act heroically) and Michelle Yeoh (whose aura of intelligence and warmth work well for an elite botanist caring for all the plants on the ship).
The special effects are flawless, and director Danny Boyle likes to linger on shots of the sun or the ship, showing the majesty of quiet, lonely space. There are also some modern, show-offy quick edits (including some cool subliminalish shots of happy photos of characters as their dead bodies are discovered) but it’s all very controlled and deliberate, it happens at specific times when the laws of reality seem to be in flux and we’re supposed to not know up from down. Re-reading my original review I realize that on the second viewing I actually had less idea what was going on in this last part, because I forgot that I had figured out he was inside the bomb at the end. (If I was even right about that in the first place.) I wish I could decode it better but honestly it didn’t seem like that much of a problem anymore. They’re getting close to the sun, shit is fucked up, what are you gonna do?
other 2007 summer movies: MR. BROOKS, RESCUE DAWN, SPIDER-MAN 3, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END, OCEAN’S THIRTEEN, FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, TRANSFORMERS, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, RUSH HOUR 3 (that’s five part threes!)
highest grossing movie that year: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.