In Which You Give Us Your Eyes In Exchange For Sunshine

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The Sequel Shall Be Called Moonshade

by Alex Carnevale

Sunshine

dir. Danny Boyle

107 minutes

Danny Boyle has never impressed me very much as a filmmaker, and Sunshine was a typical medicore effort from the man who brought you the mental retardation of The Beach.

The Boyle formula is as follows: cast an irresponsibly handsome but credible lead actor in a major role, have him take his shirt off, add elements of genre without ever really thinking through them, rinse, repeat.

28 Days Later‘s only positive quality was its titular resemblance to one of the finest alcoholic films of all time, 28 Days.

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during the theater scene that always gets my waterworks flowin’

Quick top five movies about alcoholics:

5) Affliction

When I read this article, I assumed the suicide machine in question was Nick Nolte.

4) Schindler’s List

Why do you think Oskar saved the Jews exactly?

3) 28 Days

2) Sideways

This placement is meant to be ironic, Sideways is one of the worst films ever made.

1) The Verdict

The key to the Boyle formula is to make a completely conventional Hollywood movie – with a smidge of genre that will tease fanboys and wow the general public, most of who have slept with a standing or former New York City governor.

as much as it could be, not a scene from Breakfast on Pluto

I knew Sunshine had to be a disaster when I witnessed a murder of Brooklyn hipsters talking about how they screened a movie on their projectors.

Quick top five things Brooklyn hipsters are proud of:

5) The accomplishments of their pretend feminist hipster girlfriends who allow their minature penises inside of them

4) Projectors

3) Secret joy at hanging out with celebrities while indie cred demands they act blase

2) How long they’ve supported Barry and how much they really feel it’s his time, or in the case of the female hipster, how Barry really weaned her from Hillary as if a pretend feminist needed a reason to vote for a man

1) Vinyl, duh

But where was I? Oh, right.

Sunshine is such an egotistical, pathetic mess of a film that it’s hard to even know where to start, but I’ll begin with the premise.

First of all, the sun isn’t going to burn out for a very long time. If it were going to burn out, what possible effect would sending a massive bomb have on it? Do you have any idea what kind of energy the sun requires to function? We’d need to equip the bomb with Mark Cuban, and that’s just for starters.

cillian murphy as a physicist…yeah, not buying it

Even if I were willing to suspend my considerable disbelief, why in the name of God would they send out another bomb, representing the last of the Earth’s considerable resources, when they had no idea why the mission of the first one failed? This also happened in Aliens and Doom, at which point you have to admit the conceit itself is hackneyed.

With no sunly idea (see what I did there?) of what to do with the plot, they decide to make the cause of the previous failure Freddy from Friday the 13th. People liked this movie WHY exactly?

Quick list of deep space movies that can hardly be defined as good, but were still a good deal better than Sunshine:

5) Event Horizon

The novelization was one of my ten best books of 1997

4) Alien vs. Predator

Although this took place on earth, did it really? Great movie.

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3) Pitch Black

David Twohy’s classic low-budget alien planet thriller that made Vin Diesel a star

2) Enemy Mine

Wolfgang Peterson’s classic low-budget alien planet thriller that made Randy Quaid a star

1) Total Recall

Next, the casting. This time out the dude from Ocean’s Fifty Three was the token hottie, and may I say damn.

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straight science fiction nerds have a new man to enact their fantasies

Can somebody cast this guy as the main character in Wanted and get it over with? Oh wait, James McAvoy got that part. The casting directors union prez obviously reads TR and is doing this purely to spite me, much like Paul Giamatti nabbing the role of John Adams. As my dad pointed out, “They lost me with this when they cast an Italian guy as John Adams. Also, I’m still very angry that you forced me to watch Lady in the Water.” My dad hates Lady in the Water.

l in the dubya…maybe my favorite movie of 2006

Then there’s this unexplainable obsession with the sun, which I suppose is a light allegory for our climate change problems. It actually works in this case because we know roughly as much about what it would take to reignite the sun as what’s happening to our planet.

this is the stage before you play rainbow road in mario kart wii

I just don’t think that alternative sources of power are going to significantly reduce the cumulative effect of 600 billion people on the planet (that count includes, dogs, cats and dolphins, all of whom can also be considered people), no matter how many times Phil Donahue tells me it will.

Moreover, have you seen the National Geographic special Aftermath: Population Zero about what is going to happen after our species is wiped off the planet? Hint: it’s awesome. Way better than Juno.

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actual scene from the national geographic special

Missions to “save” humanity are always a little misguided, a piece of Michael Bay-esque hubris we’d be better off without. I want to see someone recut Sunshine from the perspective of the planet.

From a planetary perspective, Sunshine is the story of Earth nearly surviving biggest virus of all time until the virus fires its “payload” into the Sun. It sounds like a bunch of fratboys tried to fuck their way out of this predicament.

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“ok everybody: if you’re white, you’re probably good at least to the 80 minute mark”

Is it really necessary to have the women on the sideline and the minorities screwing up and dying? One of the major plot twists hinges on a big fuck-up by an Asian character. I had to check if I was actually watching Superhero Movie.

If you’re going to mess with genre, at least do it in a fun way, like when David Mamet killed off Harrold Perrineau’s character in The Edge.

Maybe this film was far more entrancing on the big screen, and that’s why I think it falls on the shittier side of Pitch Black. Until then, somebody has to face up to the hard facts. Our planet is dying, and no amount of ejaculating on the sun is going to fix this problem.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

SONGS FOR YOUR MORNING COMMUTE

“A Song for the Angels” – Great Lake Swimmers (mp3)

“Fallin’ ” – De La Soul and Teenage Fanclub (mp3)

“Masterfade” – Andrew Bird (mp3)

“A Samba in the Snowy Rain” – Guillemots (mp3)

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guillemots

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Gilmore Girls stunned and amused us all.

Some films we were looking forward to.

All fires have to burn alive for Molly to live.

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8 thoughts on “In Which You Give Us Your Eyes In Exchange For Sunshine

  1. It actually was really entrancing on the big screen. I can see why it wouldn’t play well on DVD, its main virtue is totally the prettiness of the production design and the effects.

  2. Yes, it is definitely a movie for moths or other creatures of extraordinarily limited intelligence (not unlike the characters Alex Garland has so charitably provided for our entertainment, if not our edification) who find bright, pretty lights enchanting. Those who demand– or even politely request– a smidgen of legitimate intellect and plotting that doesn’t rely on preposterous death traps and dumb mistakes to go with their pretty lights might want to pass this one by. The big-screen experience only served to emphasize the fact that Boyle was using all the overblown camera tricks at his disposal to hide the shortcomings of Garland’s hackneyed, hole-filled script.

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