Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sunshine and The Simpsons

I’ve been so stressed working on this film that the only respite I’ve been able to take this week is going to the movies after work.

On Monday, I saw Danny Boyle’s new film, Sunshine.

Since there hasn’t been much marketing for this film, I’ll assume most of you didn’t even know it had come out. It’s been completed for a while, ready for release earlier in the year, but it’s only just now coming out.


I couldn’t say.

Anyhow, this film was really, really, really excellent. Perhaps the best this year. The film established a cabin fever early on and developed the most interesting psychological and moral dilemmas I’ve seen in a film in a long time. The team assembled on the spaceship, the Icarus II, have been tasked to reignite the dying sun. There’s a captain, a pilot, a comm Officer, a physicist, a psychologist, a techie and so on. For a crew this size, each character has an interesting and well-fleshed out personality.

Since the fate of the whole world rests on their shoulders, their personal survival is ancillary to their mission and the moral parameters of their actions are influenced by this fact to stunning effect.

The film is shot almost entirely in the confines of the ship and the claustrophobic effects of it got me squirming in my seat.

One of the things I loved most about the film was its adherence to actual “science” fiction. Characters were making calculations and computations and running physics models and constantly crunching numbers and the slightest mistakes can be fatal to the occupants of the shuttle.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the kid who plays Johnny Storm can act. He’s fantastic in this film, his character work is consistent and it helps prop the piece up. Also quite capable in their parts are Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) and Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later and Star Wars’ Dorme). The whole cast believes the environment and really do their best to bring you into it to the point where you’re literally on the edge of your seat by the end of the film.

I will say, however, that I felt the first two thirds of the film were perfect and the last third was merely pretty good. Bringing the religious zealot standing in the way of the Earth’s survival because he feels the destruction of Earth is part of God’s will was interesting, but not as interesting, I felt, than the human, personal dramas that the first two acts of the film set up.

The only other thing I had a problem with, and this is nit-picky stuff, the film really was amazing, was the voice over pieces at the end. The recall to the dream and the “particularly nice day.” These were clearly for the morons in the audience who weren’t paying attention.

The thing that disappointed me the most about this movie, though, was the fact that it’s only on 300 some odd screens. This movie is fucking brilliant, why isn’t it in wider release? Can someone answer me that? This movie belongs in the pantheon of great science-fiction films and it isn’t anywhere people can see it.

Then, yesterday, Tuesday, I was able to see The Simpsons movie.

It was good. It stood up with the funnier episodes of Simpsons, only longer.

I guess I don’t have all that much more to say about it. If I wanted to say all that much more about it, then I might as well do reviews of every episode of Simpsons I’ve seen and that would be pretty boring.

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