Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Cliff Curtis, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, Troy Garity
Cassie: It’s different…being afraid that you won’t make it back home…and then knowing that you won’t…
A crew of 8 astronauts is on a mission to the Sun. The Sun is dying, but the “stellar bomb” carried by their spacecraft will hopefully reignite it and bring the Earth out of the icy grave it has been descending into.
On the surface, this is nothing more than a silly science fiction movie with a questionable scientific premise and the usual collection of personalities on board a spacecraft. For some reason, though, this works well. At least, for most of the movie it does.
Why does it work? Well, first of all, you get good performances from most everybody, especially Murphy and Yeoh. Also, even if Cassie isn’t a totally believable character, Rose Byrne is a plus because…well, I think I’ve adequately expressed my adoration for her in my review of Adam.
Another reason the movie works is that director Danny Boyle presents everything with the respect and sense of awe that it deserves. I particularly liked a short scene where they all gather anxiously in the observation area in order to get a glimpse of the planet Mercury. It’s just a little ball of rock zipping around the Sun, but for them it’s beautiful. Those emotions come right out of the screen and into my head, as does the seriousness of the mission these people are on. So much so that any time that mission (and their lives) was threatened, I found myself tensing up as though my own future was riding on their success or failure.
Sound over-dramatic? Eh, probably, but that’s what a good movie does. It pulls you into its story.
Admittedly, the last 10-15 minutes is not as cerebral or realistic as the rest of the movie, but that ending didn’t ruin it for me like it did for some other people. I’d rather have seen some good philosophical conversations than the theatrical thrills that are presented, but maybe there was enough of that philosophical stuff early on to justify more of a slam-bang finale.
Always remember to recalculate your ship’s shield angles when you alter the course you’re taking to get to the Sun.
10 – .7 for lacking some originality in story and characters – .3 for that questionable science – 1 for the end devolving into action thrill mode = 8.0