Review: Sunshine (screened at Utopiales)

Jeff VanderMeer • November 17th, 2007 @ 9:24 am • Movie Reviews

Beautifully filmed, often transcendent, Sunshine is the latest and most artistically successful of the Freddy Kruger Nightmare on Elm Street movies, although studio executives have made the smart decision not to advertise this fact. Wise indeed, since this installment is likely to appeal as much to tattered, love-lorn graduate students studying at liberal colleges as to drunken frat boys looking for a cheap thrill. (Note: Some spoilers follow.)

The premise behind this particular Kruger vehicle is that five or six or seven rather anonymous astronauts with no distinguishing characteristics or backgrounds besides their faces and an animated Christmas card must plunge a bomb into the heart of the sun to save the Earth. The previous expedition failed, and this is where Freddy Kruger comes in: he’s been hiding on the half-frozen, dust-lozenged first ship, and when emergency situations require the remaining crew to set foot on that first ship…well, let’s just say Kruger makes his presence known.

A note on the special effects. They are spectacular. The way that they make Kruger’s skin and flesh a lot more like a pizza than in the past is masterful. The person or persons responsible for the runneling of said flesh under the merciless and withering gaze of the sun–the sun is rather like a film critic in this movie–should receive an Oscar nomination, along with the cinematographer (whose agile work leaps like a living bridge across more than one plot hole).

Although some will say that the director Danny Boyle–who previously did the documentary Trainspotting (notable for the first video evidence that babies can walk across ceilings) and the avant garde musical 28 Days Later (notable for playing against type by not having any singing)–has left no room for a Freddy Kruger sequel, one need only look at any of the previous Nightmare installments to see the falseness of this assertion.

10 Responses to “Review: Sunshine (screened at Utopiales)”

  1. Matt Staggs says:

    Love these reviews.
    So, this is one I definitely need to avoid then, eh? I really liked 28 DAYS LATER [preparing to dodge VanderMissiles].

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Well, it’s purty but it’s stupid.

    I liked 28 Days, too, and Trainspotting.

    JeffV

  3. Zach Taylor says:

    Haha! I was wondering why Freddy showed up halfway through the movie. Now I know! It was just a poorly marketed Nightmare on Elm Street film! Awesome review, Jeff.

  4. abalm says:

    hehe.

    Glad to know at least a few people had the same reaction I did. Adam Roberts’ review is also priceless:

    http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2007/04/sunshine-comments.shtml

    It seems that people who actually read SF were less wowed by the flick than those whose genre experience comes from cinema alone.

  5. Gwenda says:

    Yes. 1,000 times!

  6. David Moles says:

    So where would you put it in relation to, say, Event Horizon and the Soderbergh Solaris?

  7. Lope says:

    The ultimate review of the movie can be found on this brilliant blog (the comments also make some interesting points):

    http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/chemical-radiance-review-of-film.html

  8. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Good question. I’d put Sunshine ahead of Solaris just barely for the cinematography and Even Horizon last for utterly rampant stupidity. But that thar is a motley crew of three movies.

    Jeff

  9. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    I think Geoff M gives the movie too much credit, even as he points out the stupidities. I’m sick to death of SF movies where the crew members are all ciphers.

    JV

  10. Nestor Makhno says:

    Dreadful movie that mysteriously seems to have garnered universal praise by UK critics.

    I couldn’t believe how mind-bogglingly dumb it was (there are lots of plot holes but one of the stupidest was that the air was running out – this in a spacecraft with chambers the size of football stadia and seemingly enough air to support a herd of rampaging elephants for a couple of decades, arrgh)

    Is it too much to ask for some slight effort on the part of the script writer to lift the thing above the level of dumb – it wouldn’t have cost any more since they had already employed a scientific consultant….

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