01 December 2010
I enjoyed watching "Sunshine" last night.
The plot is science-fiction, involving a quest to "restart" the dying sun by delivering a nuclear payload to explode inside it. It goes without saying that you have to have a little bit of willing suspension of disbelief to enjoy the story, and it's also better not to try to figure out exactly what the crew is doing during the action sequences. Instead, I recommend just leaning back and soaking in the entire gestalt they way the crew sometimes soaks in sunshine.
The director is Danny Boyle, and the cast are generally excellent, especially Cillian Murphy and Rose Byrne. The sound track is especially notable for the segment embedded below -
which has a "Music from the Hearts of Space" quality to it. This segment occurs during the separation of the ship and shield from the payload.
I'm going to watch the movie again tonight, listening to the overdub of the director's comments on one of the alternative soundtracks to hopefully learn about the technical aspects of the film's creation.
Update after second viewing: Unlike the supplementary soundtracks on some DVDs, Danny Boyle's comments are well worth hearing if you like the movie - lots of content, and not much trivia. Things I learned:
1) The external views of the ship(s) are entirely CG. Boyle says modelling has gone by the board for modern filmmaking.
2) In a wonderful comment he notes a singular advantage of working with an ensemble cast, none of whom are major stars: "you can kill them off in whatever order you want." !!!
3) The slow pace at the beginning he says is intrinsic to all space-based sci-fi films to establish breadth, scale, distance etc. Can't rush into plot elements. Also, machinery sound is pretty much needed during shots of moving spacecraft to give them "weight."
4) The color spectrum was intentionally manipulated so that interior shots were in shades of blue/gray/green, so that the exterior ones could display the oranges and yellows.
5) Lots of tight shots to establish claustrophobic feelings, and he discusses every director's nightmare of how to deal with space helmets.
6) The "flash frames" of the crew of the doomed previous mission (Icarus I) are truly 1-frame shots and in a normal movie would be invisible to the eye in their 1/24 second duration, but because of the color contrast they are readily assimilated by the viewer.
7) He loved the "great deaths" that he was able to arrange for the crew - from flash incineration to absolute-zero freeze.
8) (spoiler alert!) The fact that the "suicide" of Trey is actually a murder is designated when the drawer is opened and two knives are missing.
9) The reason Capa puts on the "flak jacket" after the knife attack by Pinbacker is to help avoid discontinuities in showing a gaping bleeding wound in future scenes.
10) The coolant really was ice cold, as was the room (to allow visualization of the breath), so the actor wasn't faking the chattering of his teeth after he emerged from submersion.
11) The sound that accompanies the beginning of the depressurization episode is the "reverse orchestra" sound from Dr. Pepper's "Day in the Life."
12) A figure of Icarus is briefly visible on the shield facing the sun, as it separates from the payload.
One last recommendation - if you listen to the director's commentary soundtrack, it's useful to view the video with subtitles, because it allows you to follow the plot elements he is commenting on.
Labels: Video - movies