Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunshine and Stardust

I can't possibly review all of the movies I already own, not all are 'geek' in nature mind you, but I'd say a large majority of them are. What I can do is at least review new movies as they're added to the collection, and of course movies I see in the theaters, and it takes a lot to get me out for the latter. I picked up a duo of movies this weekend though, and was simply blown away by both. I'll try to keep future reviews (as well as these) brief, 'cause who knows? Maybe I'll try to tackle reviewing the whole collection one day. Let's dive in...

Sunshine: You could get away with calling this one, "2057: A Space Odyssey" pretty easily. I lament not seeing it on the big screen, visually it's stunning. The film revolves around a mission of eight scientists on their way to our dying Sun to deliver a 'bomb' to try to rejuvenate the nuclear fission process to save Earth. Sounds simple, but it's done beautifully. The entire film takes place on the ship, beginning to end, and all the high-tech doo-daddery is juxtaposed with cold and magnificent beauty of space. Complications arise along the way, and although the pacing is somewhat slow (compared to most films today), the tension factor picks up. It's a technical space film, but you don't need to be a physicist to get it, it's not a horror film, but was pretty darn scary at times. It achieves some serious credit with me, paying visual homage to 2001, and a deep space crew dynamic mimicking the original Alien.

Stardust: This film is a captivating, incredibly fun, high fantasy flick, with enough bite to be taken seriously, but enough tongue-in-cheek moments to make it truly memorable. A star falls to Earth, and a young man works to retrieve it, only to find a beautiful maiden. Also at play is the magical world of Stormhold bordering the human town of Wall, and when the two come into to contact with one another, the adventure begins. There are several sub-plots at work, all different factions, all vying to seek out the human star for their own purpose. It immediately reminded me of a live-action Miyazaki film, one of my all-time favorite writer / directors out there. There are air pirates akin to the Dola Gang from Laputa, and the Victorian era-infused with whimsical and pervasive magic, is incredibly reminiscent of Howl's Moving Castle. There was a great deal of swordplay, swashbuckling, and lightning harvesting going on with, to me, had a just a hint of the Iron Kingdoms. For the DnD'er, there's a few recognizable spells at work too; Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion, Burning Hands, and Heat / Chill metal.


  1. I just saw "Sunshine" this other night myself, normally I am big fan of this kind of dark sci-fi stuff, but for some reason the inevitable outcome for the crew was known way too early, giving me this bleak feeling I didn't soon get over. I also thought the "Hellraiser" nod with "Pinbacker" was bit over the top, with zero explantion of how that guy ended up the way he did. I am still not sure about how I feel about this film, but the fact I am still thinking about it days later certainly doesn't mean it was "bad". Thanks for tip on "Stardust" I'll have to check that out.

  2. Apparently there was a Sgt. Pinback in a 1974 movie called Dark Star, about a deep space crew who flew around detonating interstellar bombs as well. Seems a bit much for mere coincidence given all the other homages, but I dunno. I have no idea how he got from one ship to the other though, what was up with that?

  3. When the crew came over to Icarus I, and split up to search the ship, (I liked the "what?- is alien going to hunt us down one by one" line,) Pinbacker slipped over to Icarus II and blew-up the airlock, how he managed to open the doors and forcibly separate the ships, ripping the airlock apart without the bridge crew on Icarus 2 noticing is a really big stretch seeing they are monitoring the situation full time.

    Notice they of course blame the suicidal co-pilot, decided go to kill him for numerous reasons, later Capa realizes Pinbacker is aboard. They did do a really good job making pinbacker a suprise thou.

  4. That makes sense on him getting over there, I figured it was something close to it. Heck, I thought it was the co-pilot as well, until Icarus' chilling message, that was one of the best parts of the movie!