Sunshine: One of the Worst Sci-Fi Movies I Have Ever Seen

I watched this film to give it a chance. I thought maybe that it was one of those movies that was just "okay" and had been overlooked. I watch bad sci-fi movies on purpose sometimes. There's usually at least one or two good ideas in them that get me thinking.

Unfortunately, one or two good ideas in Sunshine are about all there are.

The movie, as the trailer says, is about the efforts to "restart" our sun after it is found to be dying (somehow, billions of years ahead of schedule). There is no reason offered for why the sun is dying this early death, or why such a tiny little ship could possibly restart it. It's probably because the writers couldn't think of a good reason for either to work, so they just let it sit there like a giant gorilla in the room.

The premise is pretty absurd if you know anything about why the sun (or any star) does what it does. I sort of knew that going into this movie, and was prepared to deal with the tremors having such a bad premise with no explanation what-so-ever would do to my poor brain. It actually gets worse from there. Really. I almost turned it off at several points but I really wanted to get a blog post out this week so I persevered.

Part of the problem, I think, is the movie tried to be Event Horizon—which is actually a pretty good movie right up until the last 30% of it (it flew off the rails spectacularly, but it was a good sci-fi movie right up to that point). This film did replicate several moments in Event Horizon, but did it pretty poorly such that there was no "wow" factor or anything like that. It might have been a better movie if it had tried to be its own thing, but instead it wound up being pretty boring and painful.

Well, before I make this a completely negative blog post, let me try and say a few good things about the film:

1. Having an organic oxygen production/recycling facility on a long term mission is good, realistic, and something NASA is actually looking at. This is about the only good idea in this movie, but at least they got this right.

2. If you had a shot of vodka every time a character says something that is blatantly or egregiously against the laws of physics (basic ones, nothing complicated) or is contrary to what we know is the case about the universe though many many verifying experiments, you'd be falling-down drunk by the end of the movie. This is not really a good thing, but I can see how alcohol would vastly improve this film. If you're playing this particular drinking game, this movie is good for it.

3. There were a lot of good actors in the film doing their best with a bad script. (I can only assume they needed rent money that month).

4. It was, to my surprise, internally consistent. It violated physics and biology pretty regularly and in the same ways over and over again.

5. The movie ended. This was a very good thing.

Make of this what you will but if you are going to see the movie, definitely play the drinking game. (I didn't, and now I have to live with that).


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