Interesting review. You make a good point, that Hollywood (altho this was a British film, right?) frequently sacrifices science for plot convenience. But this is far too easy a way to critique the film, and I disagree with your comparison to <Event Horizon>, tho I agree that was an excruciating flick. But not as excruciating as <Battlefield Earth>, even if Travolta's character busted out the electric boogie it would be vomitous. <Flash Gordon> with the Queen soundtrack is Oscar-caliber drama compared to <BE>. I suggest a better comparison for <Sunshine> would be George Clooney's <Solaris>. After all, doesn't the term 'science fiction' announce to the audience some liberties have been taken with the facts?
I enjoyed <Sunshine> -- for me it wasn't so much about the science, but rather deconstructing the cultural perception of safeguarding life and protecting our environment, since space exploration is essentially the zenith of the military-industrial complex. Americans especially must be cognizant of President Eisenhower's warning on this subject from January 1961...and how prophetic history proves him to be. The conflict between nature and technology is complicated by the whims of human desire. The decision to pursue the ghost-ship from the first mission, underscores the blind ambition to preserve and protect life at all costs in the culture of the characters aboard the second ship, and the mission they are expected to accomplish. Nature is expected to follow certain rhythms, while technology is expected to follow a program. Hence the novel idea that plants serve some kind of purpose aboard a spaceship -- again, I don't think the purpose of putting plants on a spaceship is there to reinforce the viewer's impression that the movie is scientifically accurate, but has more to do with underlying themes in the plot. Even in a supposedly controlled environment like the spaceship, the humans can't protect the plants from disaster, much like the situation on Earth requiring the first mission, then human nature goes haywire (gee! surprise!) and the second mission launches.
You're absolutely correct, Microwave, that the science is truncated in this film but <Sunshine> could have earned more points from me in this area by at least even briefly mentioning something about what's actually going on with Sol, right now, in reality. Solar flare activity on our sun is a very important issue, because the radical increase in solar flare activity over the next 1000 years could render Earth unable to support life. If your initial reaction to this is 'so what -- that's not in my lifetime!' Keep in mind this appears to be the same mindset as many politicians, whose only priority is expanding empire and exploiting other peoples to take their natural resources. You could go so far as to say in a work of science fiction such as <Sunshine> that sanity or logic is a precious natural resource (paging Dr Spock...). Possibly, the most important resource. But my point is this, changes in the ionization of the solar wind could rip apart our atmosphere, eventually tearing it off the planet. Thus, reigniting the source of our ecosystem's life is a noble goal worthy of epic treatment. At the very least, poetic license.
The survivor from the first mission was irrevocably transformed, scarred, mutated by his experience, and perhaps the Sol viewing room in each ship has some kind of counter-point role compared to the greenhouse room. They gaze in wonder at the awesome source of impending destruction, and use a bomb to fend it off. This dramatic irony is delicious and satisfying to fans of sci-fi. But the plants of the greenhouse room-- which could even represent Earth in microcosm-- naturally need sunshine for photosynthesis, so what is it, exactly, that the movie is saying? Perhaps, the complex relationship between humanity and our environment is first driven by our impact upon e
and ya cant stop rockin