Guy Cry Cinema
Why Sci-Fi Thriller Sunshine Makes Guys Cry

Firefilm | 29 Jul 2014 19:00
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Guy Cry: Sunshine: header

Why didn't they just go ahead and call it Sobshine?

This film, much like Europa Report and Moon in recent memory, is a low-budget realistic portrayal of space travel in our near future, with depressing death mixed in for...you know, flavor. Of course the budget was $40 million, but when you see how gorgeous this film is, along with the star power they got (Captain America and Scarecrow), the price tag seems more impressive. I re-watched this film recently and it holds up in most categories, save for one that we'll go into later.

The criteria for "manly movie" are definitely met on this one. You've got space ships, saving the world, explosions both planned and un-planned, and murder most foul. Not a film exclusively for males, but not a gushy emotion-as-plot movie by any stretch. Yet I posit that the internal conflict, self-sacrifice and raw emotion in this can leave even the most grizzled, tattooed biker dude sobbing behind his Ray-Bans.

Basic rundown of the plot is that the Sun is dying. You see, much like American corporations, the Sun is a person and can "die." Ignoring the reality that ol' Sol has about five billion more years of giving us sunburn before it even enters its red giant phase (also known as a star's mid-life crisis), Earth decides the best course of action is to nuke it. Hey, it worked in The Core, didn't it? So the USS "Big-Ass Mirror with the ISS Hiding Behind It" is shot towards the Sun and immediately disappears. Perhaps they shouldn't have named it Icarus, the Greek myth involving a guy flying too close to the sun and melting his wings off. That's like naming a spaceship "Titanic" and launching it at an icy comet. What could go wro-OMG IT ALL WENT WRONG!

When I say "IT ALL WENT WRONG" I mean -- spoilers up in your face -- every character in this movie dies. That's not necessarily why this movie makes us cry, but some of the deaths...well...so much feels. This movie is basically a series of emotional deaths strung together with a plot. It's strange and moving that in a film with such bombastic expectations of space killing people, nukes being flown into the Sun, and so forth, the deaths are way more emotionally powerful because of how small and personal they feel.

The movie follows the crew of the second poorly-named ship as they attempt to nuke-slap the Sun. First off, the only reason they haven't burst into flames (yet) is a big-ol mirror at the front of the ship. But when the crew of the USS "Doomed from the Start" sees their predecessors hanging out getting a tan, they decide to investigate. Why not? They had nothing else to do. Ship changes direction, mirror not aligned...first death. So Mysterious Asian Captain gives his life fixing the mirror while the ship's psychologist yells at him about groceries or something. Seriously that guy was worse than Counselor Troi in the first season of TNG.

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