Sunshine (2007)

(In theaters, July 2007) Is there something about “restarting the sun” plots that poison scripts? First Solar Crisis, now Sunshine, and not a good movie in the bunch. Though promising and with strong visuals, the latest Danny Boyle film succumbs to the stupid camera work that plagued 28 Days Later and the even sillier script that never works as well as it thinks it does. The first mistake of the film is to pretend that it’s a hard-SF film without quite understanding how science works: Consequently, we’re stuck with bad geometry, unexplained artificial gravity, oxygen deprivation despite a cargo hold the size of a warehouse and tons of other small details that keep bothering viewers who pay attention. It gets worse with a plot inspired by Murphy’s Law and a tiresome third-act monster-movie finish. It’s not as if the film is entirely worthless: There are some terrific visuals here and there (the Sun itself is almost a featured character), and some of the tension between human characters leads to excellent scenes. But in the end, the film devolves in shaky-cam silliness and interminable pretension: Every character death is saluted as a sign that the end is that much closer. Frankly, I’d rather have no science-fiction films at all if the alternative is Sunshine.

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