just remember it takes eight minutes for light to travel from sun to earth, which means you'll know we succeeded about eight minutes after we deliver the payload. all you have to is look out for a little extra brightness in the sky. so if you wake up one morning and it's a particularly beautiful day, you'll know we made it.

- sunshine

sunshine is about 8 astronauts, whose mission is to deliver a nuclear payload the size of manhattan into the sun. why? well, the sun is dying and they are attempting to reignite the sun, because if the sun dies, so do we. the spaceship delivering the payload is called icarus 2. this is the second and last attempt, as the first attempt, icarus 1, was mysteriously never heard from, disappearing seven years ago. needless to say, the crew of icarus 1 failed in their attempt, for unknown reasons.

as they get near the sun and enter into the "dead zone" which is basically the point of no return, where their communications to earth will no longer be heard, the crew stumbles upon the icarus 1 vessel. here, they take an ill thought out, yet somewhat logical step to salvage the payload from the first ship. the thinking is, since this is their last shot, two last shots are better than one. this turns out to be a fatal mistake.

the script is written by alex garland, who also wrote 28 days later, which is a far better movie. comparing a zombie movie to a space movie isn't really doable, except for the fact that both were written by alex garland, who is predictable in his writing. basically, what you know is that there will be humans faced with extraordinary situations, which usually end in a bloodbath. what's interesting about garland's writing, is that he always asks interesting questions, even though the ending is usually predictable. sunshine is no exception. here, garland weighs interesting questions, such as how expendable is a person's life when weighed against the success of the mission, which means the salvation of humanity? and how much of our humanity can be lost, or how much of it are we willing to part with, in order to succeed? is compassion or dignity important when faced with life and death? to some of the astronauts, it is important to keep what makes us human, to others, nothing matters except the success of the mission. in this particular circumstance, i'd have to agree with the latter. you can cry about it later.

there is an interesting scene where some of the crew debate what they must do to survive. in this situation, it is about oxygen. there is an accident, and they don't have enough oxygen to survive long enough to deliver the payload. actually, they do, so long as they lose a few people. and as the situation goes from bad to worse to hopeless, these questions get asked more often. the cast gets shaved down, and they begin to wonder just how minimal the numbers can get in order to fulfill the mission? each of the 8 astronauts fulfills a specific role. so who is expendable? the gardener? the psychologist? the communications officer? the captain? the physicist? and so on.

the movie isn't anything special, in that we've seen all these things in every other space movie ever made. nobody said garland was original. but it was entertaining for what it was. it was released in the uk months ago, so there are dvd rips online that you can scam if you want, but i chose to see it in the theatre and i'm glad i did, because it's a very visceral visual experience. they do an excellent job of recreating the sun on screen.