A review of “Sunshine” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: * 1/2

Rating: R for violent content and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes



Danny Boyle, respected veteran of such edgy classics as “Trainspotting” and “28 Days Later” needs to have his head examined for tackling this sci-fi “thriller”.

Talking computers, claustrophobic space chambers and a mission gone badly awry, it’s “Sunshine 2007: A Space Odyssey”. Generations have seen it before and all have seen it done better.

Boyle muse Cillian Murphy – he of the startling baby blues – is up front and center as mission physicist Capa, the voice of reason on the Icarus II. No matter that he and his seven stunning colleagues are so youthful that they might have a thimbleful of experience among them. Modeling contracts, yes. Advanced degrees, I think not.

Their mission is a daunting one: to reignite the sun whose light on earth appears to be waning. If there is such a thing as sun junkies these guys are the poster boys (and girls), manically hooked on that blazing star’s polarizing light.

Naturally there was a ship that went before them and naturally it disappeared. Of course they lose contact with the mother-planet within 24-hours and run perilously low on oxygen. The fact that I didn’t care a lick reflects the been-there/done-that quality of the script and the dead-end narrative.

So what’s the hook? Well, missing ship Icarus starts transmitting a distress signal which sends everyone into a tizzy. How is that possible when the crew is presumed dead? Should they ditch their rendezvous with the sun and rescue their ill-fated compatriots?

Veterans of even a handful of “Star Trek” episodes know that the Icarus is up to no good but our plucky crew is blissfully and heroically ignorant. Think Tippi Hedren climbing to an attic bedroom to investigate the distant beating of wings and you get the drift.

“Sunshine” is crammed full of spacey buzz words and techno-concepts sure to satisfy the most discerning sci-fi geeks. Iron content acting as a super-antenna, payloads delivered to the heart of a star, supersymetric nuclear fusion, oh baby!

It’s an odyssey of stupidity with one bad decision piling on another. Crack navigator Trey (Benedict Wong) makes a calculation error with dire consequences and spends the next hour flogging himself until he’s mercifully shut up for good. Biologist Corazon (ass-kicking martial artist Michelle Yeoh) doesn’t bust a single move but tenderly and optimistically tends to the ship’s magical garden. Zzzzzzz.

Visuals are brilliant throughout but lost in a quick-cutting style so spare as to be subliminal. Climactic act is a bloody and bewildering frenzy of loin and limb.

Cancel the ticker tape parade because these guys are doomed to breathe their last breaths in an imploding black hole, where no one can hear them scream.