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in Filmmaking
on Mar 25, 2007

Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, a sci-fi epic starring Cillian Murphy and scripted by novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach) doesn’t open here until the fall, but it premieres in the U.K. on April 7 and the early press has me really excited.

Here’s Mark Kermode in The Guardian:

Shot not in Hollywood but in the 3 Mills studios in London’s East End, Sunshine boasts extraordinary computer graphic imagery so luminescent you feel you could get sunburn just watching the film. As a sensory experience, it’s overwhelming. But perhaps more importantly, Sunshine also harks back to a time when sci-fi turned its attention not toward the hallowed teen market but toward the heavens. Although screenwriter Alex Garland has said the inspiration for the film came from ‘an article projecting the future of mankind from a physics-based, atheist perspective’, this ambitious British fantasy increasingly blurs the boundaries between science and religion. In this respect, it falls within a grand tradition of adult-orientated science-fiction which is haunted by the question of divinity, whether as a presence or an absence.

Samuel Wigley on The Guardian‘s film blog is slightly more reserved but still very much into it:

But there is a sense of awe about space in Sunshine that I haven’t noticed in a sci-fi film for a while. A moment near the beginning has members of the crew alerting each other to a fleeting planetary spectacle suddenly visible from their craft: Mercury is drifting past on its orbit around the sun – a sublime, rare vision that remains stuck in my mind long after the confusing action sequences have faded. This, after all, is the filmmaker who turned a junkie’s desperate plunge into the grimiest toilet in Scotland into an underwater fantasia. Despite its cumbersome dramatics, Boyle’s new film proves he’s still got the touch. Sunshine has the uplift of one of those light-boxes prescribed to SAD sufferers – few films about impending apocalypse have felt so optimistic, nor so attuned to the beauty about to be eclipsed.

From these reports it seems like Sunshine may be the first worthy successor to the philosophical science fictions of 2001 and Solaris (Tarkovsky’s version) to come along in a while. To watch several clips from the film, click here.

The new international trailer is embedded below:

In related news, the early buzz on 28 Weeks Later, the Boyle/Garland exec-produced sequel to their 28 Days Later is good, reports Dread Central. A tiny “sneak peek” of that trailer can be seen here.

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