Our sun is dying. Mankind faces extinction. Seven years ago the Icarus project sent a mission to restart the sun but that mission was lost before it reached the star. Sixteen months ago, I, Robert Capa, and a crew of seven left earth frozen in a solar winter. Our payload a stellar bomb with a mass equivalent to Manhattan Island. Our purpose to create a star within a star.
From the reviews, “Sunshine” is certainly the best sci-fi film of 2007. It opened in Salt Lake City (Trolley Square) a week late, so I’m more than ready to go see it this weekend. Some have called it “two-thirds of a great science fiction movie” because of the ending. On the other hand, comparisons to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Alien” and “Solaris” put “Sunshine” in the big leagues. It was directed by Danny Boyle (“28 Days Later”). There is a good spoiler-free review in Slate.
The plot takes place only 50 years in the future, so the sun isn’t dying in the normal sense (this is not due for around five billion years). It has instead been “infected” with a Q-ball – a supersymmetric nucleus, left over from the big bang – that is disrupting the normal matter. This is a theoretical particle that scientists at CERN are currently trying to confirm. The stellar bomb is meant to blast the Q-ball to its constituent parts which will then naturally decay, allowing the sun to return to normal.
Note: “Sunshine” is rated “R” by the MPAA.
UPDATE: Here’s my review. There are no original ideas in science fiction stories, but if you can live with that fact you will agree that this is a great genre film. It’s better than “Dark Star” (1974). And you will never take the Sun for granted, you’ll be looking up at it a lot more. Note to space agencies: you have to send the computer anyway, but don’t send any people. The computer doesn’t really need anyone to talk to, and humans take up space. They also whine a lot about whether they’re going to make it back alive, is there enough oxygen and food, who’s in command, etc. And they make very bad decisions (e.g. trying to bypass the computer). Of course, nobody would ever make a movie about an automated space mission that went exactly as planned.