Sunshine trailer is out

By Phil Plait | February 12, 2007 4:31 pm

Hey, remember when I talked to my friend Gia about the movie "Sunshine"? Yeah, probably not since it was a long time ago. Still, she was very excited to be working on the movie, and I was curious what it would be like.

Well, the trailer just came out. It’s really cool. I still don’t know what to make of this movie. The Sun has shut down, and we send a spaceship to restart it. Yeah, sounds like "The Core". But what I have seen makes this movie look more introspective and philosophical, which would be very interesting, i think. I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Science, Time Sink

Comments (52)

  1. Daffy

    Have no idea about the film, but the trailer is very well done! (pun purely intentional)

  2. ABR

    Interesting trailer. I see that Chris Evans (a.k.a. Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four) is in the cast. Perhaps this is how they plan to jump start the sun!

  3. t3knomanser

    Really? _Really_? I’m sorry, you lost me at the premise. I think the trailer actually made me dumber.

  4. Flak

    A grand idea ABR! But hopefully a far better movie then the dreadful Fantastic 4 (how did that film rate a sequel again?). The trailer is really pretty intense and it has a good director. Will it be a good movie? Hopefully. Will it make up it’s science as it goes along? Hopefully not. If it can be a good movie WITH good science (Contact anyone?) that’ll be a real treat. And I’m sure Phil will review it for us with an eye for that, won’t you Phil?

  5. Matt J

    Oh sweet merciful Einstein’s ghost, the Core was a bad movie! Bad, bad, oh so bad that I lost a good portion of my brain cells related to processing movie continuity and logic. I liked 28 days later, though, so if the same person behind that little gem is behind “Sunshine” then I think I can really get into this movie. Any movie with a significant amount of fire and nuclear explosions is, at the very least, mildly entertaining (at least that’s what I thought when I heard the premise for the Core – I’ve never been more wrong about a movie premise’s entertainment value). Anyway, looks cool!

  6. I saw the trailer a few weeks ago, and just had to laugh at it. I figured you would have a good time bashing it when it came out.

    I’d rather see The Astronaut Farmer next week.

  7. iFire

    The movie looks rather interesting. From reading the plot on Wikipedia it almost sounds like a cross between the main plot of The Core and the ending of Mission to Mars. Hopefully it won’t suck like those two movies.


  8. Gary Mcleod

    I’m afraid I have misgivings about this film already. In just 50 years we’ll have the technology to ‘re-ignite’ the sun? That’s the level of development of a type 2 civilisation, and we’re barely type 1! I predict this will have more scientific misconceptions than Armageddon, it wouldn’t surprise me if the crew fly to the sun during the night so they won’t get fried! I do hope I’m wrong…

  9. Porto

    Ohh, Jesus…. [- sorry about that, but otherwise I would say some profanity 😉 ]
    This is a BIG challenger for nomination for the prize of the less connected with the reality film. (Yes Armageddon, you have a contender)
    I really am going to stop this comment at this point, all that is coming to my mind right now is how this is gonna be WRONG and have BAD astronomy.

    (Ok only as a comment of a comment, I am not a native speaker of English, so sorry if you see some typos here, and, I never gonna be tired of this, THANKS FOR THE AWESOMELY WONDERFUL BLOG)

  10. Porto

    Gary Mcleod, you post just seconds before me! But I will give you the credit for that wonderful ideia of flying in the night. This is sure something to watch for…

  11. Can’t we have another picture of the beautiful Gia to accompany this post? Please?

    I’m looking forward to this movie. Danny Boyle’s a great director. 28 Days later, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave… Classic movies.

  12. John Parejko

    The director of Trainspotting? Man, I really don’t want to like this film, but Trainspotting was f’ing brilliant! The opening with the 100% reflective panels was kinda neat though.

    But that music I’ve heard before…

  13. Yeah- it may not be a great movie as far as the scientific accuracy goes- but I predict it will be a well-directed sci-fi flick.

  14. Caesar
  15. CR

    Nicely made trailer, but why, oh why does every film involving a small crew of people on some mission to do whatever always have members of that crew suffer & get killed, usually one at a time?

  16. Looks like it might be one of those Good Movie, Bad Astronomy kind of deals.

  17. Laguna2

    I hope they have a better idea to kickstart the sun than to throw some nukes in it…

  18. Quiet Desperation

    I had a nightmare like this last year. In the dream, I was out in my yard in the late afternoon, and the sky got sort of oddly colored and twinkly. It’s difficult to describe now. There were weird partial rainbows all over the place.

    Then it got really dark out, and the sun was just an orange ball in the sky that you could stare right at with no problem. I walked out to the front of the house and people up and down the street were rushing into their cars and taking off, or just running away. In the dream I thought, “Where do they think they’re going?”

    As the enormity of what was happening hit me, I woke up sweating. For sure one of those “thank goodness it was a dream” moments.

    As for the movie, let Stephen Baxter write it. He’d figure out a way. :)

  19. Kaptain K

    OK, I watched the trailer and … I think I know less about the movie than I did before I watched it!

  20. Quiet Desperation

    OK. Watched the trailer. Typical Hollywood sci-fi Lego kit construction. Zzzzzz.

    Besides, Invader Zim already explored this. You have to hijack planets and dump them into the sun like kindling. Especially ones with lots of critters because critters burn real good. :)

  21. PK

    I agree with Quiet Desperation. The trailer looks terribly uninspired. Danny Boyle’s genius notwithstanding, this movie better produce some real (as opposed to fantasy) new physics because there is no way I can suspend disbelief given our current understanding of stellar dynamics.

  22. Mentions of “The Core” reminded me that I discovered it was actually a ripoff of another movie “Deep Core” IMDB LINK. Starred Wil (ST:TNG)Wheaton, Terry(ST:DS9) Farrell, Bruce (Quantum Leap, Macgyver) McGill and a bunch of unknowns. (Deep Core=2000, The Core=2003).
    However, Deep Core was more entertaining, IMHO.


  23. Ruth

    Good grief! I can suspend a fair amount of disbelief but there comes a point when a plot is just TOO dumb to stand and this one has past that point without a backwards glance.

  24. Ruth

    “passed” (before the spelling police come after me) ;o)

  25. Gerrsun

    So, how will President Bush and uncontrolled greenhouse gasses cause the Sun to shutdown?

    That IS what causes it right?

  26. Lucas

    I’m not too impressed by the trailer (and that music, “Gothic Power”, has been used way too much IMO)… But hey, at least in this movie the bomb is “the size of Kansas”!

    We’ll see how good/bad this turns out to be.

  27. Lucas

    err… correction, the music isn’t Gothic Power, it’s that Requiem for a Dream theme remix… 😐

  28. KingNor

    what i don’t get is… dont’ stars operate using their own gravity?

    it’s not like they are galactic water heaters that can go out, and all you need to do is relight the pilot.

    if the star is still there, it kind of has to keep doing its fusion reaction thing… right?

  29. There is another movie titled ‘Sunshine’ which follows a Hungarian Jewish family through the horrors of the 20th century. While not a great movie, it depicts events honestly, and has Ralph Fiennes star in multiple roles.

  30. Amateur Heliochromologist
  31. The Core was hilarious! Come on, what’s wrong with you people? It’s truly one of the best comedies I’ve ever seen.

    As for Sunshine, though… I’d like to say I have faith in Danny Boyle, but if anything having a quality filmmaker on board is going to make the premise all the more painful.

    I enjoyed The Core because it was an awful movie that knew it was awful and just didn’t care all that much. I’m not sure I can stomach the same ridiculous premise in a film that intends to actually be good.

  32. Sergio

    > Well, the trailer just came out. It’s really cool.
    > I still don’t know what to make of this movie. The
    > Sun has shut down, and we send a spaceship to
    > restart it.

    Phil, seriously. I’m mean, c’mon. You have no thoughts about this movie and think the trailer is cool? Losing respect, man, losing respect.

    I’m not even an amateur astronomer and I think I vomited a little in my mouth when I saw this trailer.

  33. Gerrsun

    If you’re wondering how he eats and breathes
    And other science facts,
    Just repeat to yourself “It’s just a show,
    I should really just relax

    Some folks need to step back… cause emulating emotionless Vulcan’s really ISN’T cool.

  34. Flak

    Wow, lots of people taking the premise movie a little too seriously. C’mon all, suspend a little disbeleif for a couple of hours, chow some bad popcorn and enjoy yourselves. Or at least try. The premise might be a little outrageous (how the hell WOULD you re-ignite a star), but if it’s well put together, exciting, and the science isn’t laughable it could be good. It’s relatively rare for a film maker of this pedigree to even attempt sci-fi, so if the science isn’t utterly laughable (Armageddon anyone?), give it a shot.

  35. icemith

    Had a look at the ‘standard’ video as provided in the blog, but it was un-inspiring, and seemed to be somewhat jerky and with too many pauses in it to be useful. Was not impressed, and the premise of the story, whoever came up with that?

    So I read the comments, and was not surprised.

    But then I did what is in-explicable. I downloaded the HD version, as recommended by Caesar at 9:45pm, and was faced with three size choices – I selected the 38Mb version (others were 84 and 134Mb), and was prepared to wait a while while it loaded. Took about 30 seconds I reckon, and stretching the screen to the full entent, viewed the trailer again and saw much, much more than on the piddly little version in lo def, with no way to enlarge it. (Not that it would be any use as the thing would pixellate and jerk even more!)

    I am almost game to d/l the 134Mb one, as these are in Quicktime, I should be suitably impressed.

    So I have a better appreciation of the trailer at least, and I would enjoy the movie when it comes out, especially for the effects, even if I have to suspend my scientific sensibilities (hopefully). Still, it’s a silly plot.


  36. Chip

    Well, this is just an off-the-wall side comment and no big deal – but I wish someone with talent and money (and great sets) would remake into a movie Philip Wylie’s “When Worlds Collide” – especially combined with the follow-up “After Worlds Collide”. Though fantastical, it seems more suspension-of-disbelief-plausible.

  37. CR

    You know, I thought about When Worlds Collide yesterday while I typed my first comment about Sunshine, and realized that I’ve been glad all these years that nobody HAS remade it, because of the implausibility of the whole thing.
    Now, though, I’ll bet the floodgates are open and it’s only a matter of time before we see it happen. I’ll bet they were just waiting for the hubbub of Deep Impact & Armageddon to die down before doing another ‘collision’ themed disaster film.
    Chip’s right, though… colliding worlds seems more suspension-of-disbelief plausible than re-igniting the sun.

  38. ioresult

    Ring from Stephen Baxter gives a nice idea why the sun would turn off, and it involves dark matter: neutralino lifeforms drinking gamma photons and so inhibiting fusion reactions inside stars.

    Sundiver from David Brin gives good ideas on how a ship might survive inside the Sun’s atmosphere. One nice idea: an X-ray cooling pump laser.

  39. Quiet_Desperation

    Flak said, “Flak Says: “C’mon all, suspend a little disbeleif for a couple of hours, chow some bad popcorn and enjoy yourselves. Or at least try.”

    Because there’s limits. If two cops on CSI jump into a police car, and the police cars flys across the city through the air with no explanation, that breaks the limits assuming it isn’t some fantasy Blade Runner sequence.

    I consider myself pretty open minded when it comes to fiction. For example, I’m a hard core skeptic who really likes the show Medium, and my major crush on Patricia Arquette has *nothing* to do with it. Honest. I’m the local Mr. Science Guy, but I read a lot of fantasy along with my SF.

    But why watch a bad movie with bad popcorn when I can see a good movie with good popcorn? There’s enough choices out there, or in my own home theater, so that I don’t have to watch crap.

    There’s also the consideration that if people keep going to see bad movies, Hollywood will continue to make bad movies. If it’s really “so bad you have to see it” then at least wait until it shows up on television and won’t register as a ticket sale or rental.

  40. Stark

    OK, not truly related but this thread reminded me of this :

    Seeing as how we’re all science geeks here and there is a strong realtionship between science geekery and enjoyment of science fiction I figured I’d post it.
    It is a quite enjoyable short story about the sun going out… the author is a fellow by the name of Sam Hughes – and not a bad writer of sci-fi shortstories.

  41. Flak

    Q-D, I apologize, perhaps my point was not made well. I’m only saying that many posting here are trashing a movie they know very little about beyond it’s premise and it’s pedigree. It may indeed be the worst movie since the inception of the motion picture, but we don’t know that yet. There’s no reviews, no one’s seen it, so we’re all to a point in the dark. But it’s got good people behind it, so it deserves some deference. Trust me, if Micheal Bay were behind this I’d be more then willing to laugh at it. And I’d like to give you kudos, your point about Medium is excellent! There is a TV show who’s premise is preposterous to the science minded skeptic, yet it’s a good show. Well written, acted, and directed. Perhaps ‘Sunshine’ will be the same way, perhaps not, but let it have its shot.

  42. BJN

    Ooooh, big tanks of Wizard charcoal lighter fluid…that must be what that guy’s drowning in! And the “Promethius” ship name. Dude, how did they think of that!

    There are so many trilling science based stories to tell, why do sci-fi movies these days have to be based on a clueless premise? It can’t all be the fault of clueless audiences. It has something to do with the unseen asphixiation of the market.

  43. CR

    I thought I heard the name Icarus in the trailer… not sure if I’d want to be aboard any ship named that!

  44. ioresult

    Gia said, in november 2005, “they were going to do something the ‘traditional sci-fi movie way’ and after hearing your interview have decided to do it the ‘correct’ way…”.

    I guess I can say what it is: the space ship viewed from space is going to be silent! (there’s hoping)

  45. Morgan

    The amusing thing about the music is that – while I think it’s the remixed version from Requiem for a Dream, which was nicked by the Lord of the Rings trailers – the original song is Mozart’s Lux Aeterna – “eternal light”.

  46. Gia

    Hey Phil! I tried commenting the other day, but it seems it was eaten en route.

    Yes, the premise *does* sound outrageous. Trust me when I say that the ‘mission to the Sun’ is to Sunshine what the ‘briefcase’ is to Pulp Fiction… It’s not like The Core (during which even my 10 year old son said ‘Wait! That’s not possible, is it?!’). It’s not like Event Horizon. It’s not a “disaster movie”. Don’t let the marketing people fool you…

    The filmmakers (Alex Garland and Dany Boyle) want to use the film as a way to talk about science. They hired Brian Cox from CERN (my husband, actually) as science advisor. Brian admittedly had quite a time working out an explanation for why the Sun could be “dimming”. This is what he came up with.

    The filmmakers are taking Brian around the world with them when they do press for the film so that he can talk to the world’s *film media* about science and CERN… which is no bad thing…

    Both the filmmakers and the actors were so inspired and excited by their pre-filming scientific ‘education’ that one of the actors, Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Batman Begins, The Wind That Shakes the Barley) gave a talk at the Royal Society saying that he believes the work being done at CERN is ‘truly an heroic pursuit’.

  47. DennyMo

    I agree with CR, the trailer made the movie look like a space-bound “Faces of Death”.

  48. Alex Whiteside

    Reading the blog explaination, it seems like a pretty well-thought-out if implausible premise. I mean, it’s the sort of thing Arthur C. Clarke got up to in a lot of his short stories. Of course it’s the MacGuffin rather than a serious plot point so they get away with more in accuracy than, say, a Michael Crichton novel where the science represented is one of the themes.

  49. CR

    Thanks, Gia, for enlightening us a bit better than the trailer did, without giving anything away. Now it sounds a little more believable… or less unbelievable… well, it sounds interesting. If the actors can get that excited about it, for the reasons you cited, it sounds at least worth a viewing!

  50. Max Tsukino

    here in Mexico City the movie is on cinemas …

    In my opinion, it’s not the average “science fiction” movie … I think that – in a way and maybe taking a lot of liberties – it could be some sort of equivalent of some science fiction books … think Asimov, Poul Anderson, Robert A. Heinlein, Larry Niven, etc …

    I liked the movie, a lot …

    it’s not The Core … not at all …

    I think there would be some errors and bad astronomy … some people on the IMDB boards posted about them … (I won’t mention the comments, to avoid spoilers) … but I don’t think those are a serious crime …

    I really hope for an entry about the movie … =)

  51. penny

    I saw it, and I walked out about two thirds in.
    It was a horror movie–complete with bloody stabbings, people burned to death, an insane horribly burned psychopath etc.,
    and it made me physically sick for two hours after I fled. I may never see another new
    Hollywood science fiction movie, as the creators are clearly psychopaths.

    By the way, here is a more sensible way to turn on a star: You create an artifical small
    black hole and send it into the interior of the star using a wormhole.
    Both the wormhole and the black hole are created using mid 21 century
    knowledge of higher dimensional string theory learned at the LHC after 20 years. The black hole absorbs star matter and creates an alternative
    energy source.

  52. penny

    Of course, it would still take a long time for the energy to reach the
    upper layers of the star—so we use mid 21 century physics to find a way for the black hole produced energy to turn into the emission of
    neutrino like particles that don’t interact with standard matter–which let’s them travel at the speed of light until they decay ( say just after
    long enough to reach the upper layers) into standard matter. String theory should give particles like that. Again, we appeal to knowledge gained after several decades of artifical microblackhole experiments at the

    Another point–it wasn’t necessary for the sun to be almost dead–a small reduction in its output ( call it a long period variable star) would
    be enough to threaten the earth. And that could be the result of deep internal process change started LONG ago.

    I could have written a much better movie–with accurate science, in my sleep. With no psychopathy, and lots about physics, the LHC, human culture adapting to the threat and the cooling, how the icarus ship was designed, and built ( there is where human ambivalence and religious
    resistance can come in) and then the launching and the trip.



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