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The Most Underrated Sci-Fi Film You've Probably Never Seen | 2007

I'm both ashamed and thrilled I recently discovered this film. How this has slipped past me over the years is beyond me and I've been struggling to find a reason why.

Why aren't people talking about this film?! I think I have the answer.

Take a look at Sunshine.

In the future, the sun is dying, leaving the earth to slowly decay into an icy wasteland. Sunshine follows a team of astronauts as they try to re-complete a failed mission to respark the sun. At it's core, the film is about human nature, and it's response to survival and the ongoing debate of technology vs spirituality.

Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Alex Garland.

If that duo alone doesn't make you want to stop reading and immediately watch the film just hang on...

Are you intrigued yet cause nothing beats this diverse cast in peak 2000's hairstyles.

The visuals alone are the main reason why I love this film. There are visually striking imagery assisted in the use of colors and framing that make this movie stand out years later. The film stylistically looks like it was shot a few years ago rather than in 2007. In the effects department, about 20% of the film has a few dated CGI effects compared to 2020, which didn't pull me out of the film due to the strategic and effective use of lighting, disguising most flaws.

What blew me away was the use of complementary colors. The screen is constantly flooded with bright greens, vivid blues, and mainly gold. The cherry on top is the play of brightness and shadow, a true workout for your eyes. This was made for a large screen.

Boyle has always been an expressive colorist with his previous works like Trainspotting, but Sunshine truly is the most vibrantly saturated.

As with any Danny Boyle film, there are always interesting camera angles. The King, of modern canted angle. An impressive amount of framing was very contemporary. Cinematographer Alwin H. Küchler played with the use of empty space and leading light/lines to echo the themes from Garland's script. I can see how the visuals from his film, influenced Alex Garland's 2014 film ExMachina.

For example, take a look at the empty space found in this still above. This was probably due to the nature of the conversation in the scene and how the two characters start to have drifting ideals, but something not common for a 2007 release. Have you ever seen that shade of blue on the screen before? There is not one frame in the film that doesn't also include an assortment of colors, echoed with the rainbow light leak for an entire two-minute scene.

The production design only assisted in creating this environment. I see the influence from the oxygen room from Sunshine be echoed in newer releases like Interstellar. The shapes and color, all add to the visual appeal. The teal and yellow trend in film can retire, I'm requesting more green and blue.

Alex Garland, sincerely is a force in writing. His works include Annihilation, ExMachina, Never Let Me Go, 28 Days Later and 2000's The Beach. Writing easily gets looked over, by the average movie watcher, but can be so profoundly impactful to your experience with the film. More so, for Garland's work, he smoothly places these profound large ideas throughout the script, scattered around like mini treasure chests waiting to be unlocked and delved into.

You can tell every sentence, word, and thought has been deeply analyzed and placed strategically throughout his work. Personally, he's one of the few writers, I stop drop and roll to watch their work. Even he too knows there is no end to the analysis of his work...

When I see 'Sunshine,' I see a film that part of me is kind of very proud of and another part of me is very sad about, so it's a really complicated film for me. And I've never been really able to resolve all that in myself. - Alex Garland.

Is the movie The third act for sure has it's fair share of problems, in a classic mid-2000's epilogue. It went from a deep sci-fi arthouse film to an action blockbuster in about 15minutes. The film really took a turn into what the hell is going on kind of ending, however, totally redeemable with its final 5 minutes. Did I still have to pick up my jaw that was on the floor...YES.

Let me take a moment to highlight the diversity in the cast, something very rare for a sci-fi film, let alone a big-budgeted film in 2007. Who doesn't love Cillian Murphy. Without a doubt, he always delivers the emotional beats and final moments of every film he's in. In more recent years, besides his role as Thomas Shelby on BBC's Peaky Blinders, it's rare to see him in a leading role, which he is more than capable to deliver. The principle visual in this film is the human eye, and no one performs better with their eyes than Murphy.

We also get a pre-Captain America, Chris Evans, and Benedict Wong, both now apart of the MCU. Bridesmaid's Rose Byrne, Crouching Tiger's Michelle Yeoh, and Kingsman's Mark Strong. You'd think with this ensemble more eyes would be on this film yet here we are in 2020, without any recognition.

This film is another example of a thrilling, all-encompassing film. There are laughs, tears, and chills, a true exercise in emotions.

I love a good multi-genre film, that puts you on an emotional journey. If I'm emotionally exhausted after watching a film, I know it resonated. This film makes you jump and squirm around but also places you in deep thought. The impactful imagery has stayed with me for about three days after viewing the film, to a point where I found it extremely difficult to watch anything else. Films that keep you thinking, talking, and analyzing are a sign of a great movie.

I've seen it twice now, and already anticipating the third watch, just due to the vastness of questions and this film leads you down. This is a movie you can pause at any moment, and dive into endless analysis and appreciation for movie making.

So why aren't people talking about this film?

I went to film school, and still had no knowledge of this movie's existence. Learned nothing in class, or mentioned by a fellow student. Who in the universe failed me, by not showing me this film earlier. Being a fan of sci-fi, how have I have not done my own research.

The problem is marketing. No offense to the team but they kinda blew it on this one. Here is where the film truly is dated. The main poster for this film....not the cutest. This was probably why I overlooked it on my rabbit hole of IMDB searches. The trailer is more of a fan-made montage of scenes from the film with the score placed on top.

Either way, that shouldn't be the reason why this film is looked over. There are so many cases of amazing films that don't get watched because of this. Marketing plays a huge role in the success of a film. It can either sell an awful film or ruin a good one.

It's word of mouth that needs to bring this film back into light, and I don't see too many recent reviews or video essays.

For me, it's a highly recommend and a top 5 on my favorite sci-fi films list. So please, stop what you doing and add this to your watchlist.

Have you seen this film? What did you think?

Comment below, I love talking movies!


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