July 28, 2007


I just watched the film Sunshine. To call this a "must-see movie" is an understatement.

The idea is that Sol, our home star, is slowly dying. Earth is trapped in a perpetual winter which will only get worse, eventually dooming mankind. The space ship Icarus was sent to reignite the sun, but was lost. Now, seven years later, "the last, best hope" Icarus II is trying to complete that mission. Just after passing the point of blackout, where communication with Earth is no longer possible, they pick up the distress beacon from Icarus I.

A science-fiction movie in the vein of 2001 A Space Odyssey and Alien, the movie is riveting on multiple levels: great special effects, interesting characters (with one exception, they are all shades of gray, not black & white), and a great story to tie it all together. Tension mounts as the film works then rushed towards climax.

The real impressive thing about this film is the sun itself, which is represented in this film as the ultimate force of nature. There is more than one scene where, when something is exposed to the full might of Sol, fiery destruction or outright vaporization is the result.

There is also an odd form of sun worship that develops in at least one character; by greater and purer exposure to the full fury of the sun, they achieve the feeling of become one with the light. But this is presented in a way that is believable for astronauts on a long, lonely space voyage with only one large, ever-dominating star as a companion.

Anyone who's an amateur astronomer (I fit this bill) should definitely see this movie. Digital graphics are now to the point where realistic views of a star's surface are possible. This, as well as the planet Mercury, provided me with great treats.


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