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Danny Boyle - Sunshine


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I didn't consider that he just sneaked on. How could he do that? Didn't he appear in a teleport-like effect whilst muttering something about time\space? I may have misremembered.

He sneaked on when the two ships were docked to each other. Just before he broke the dock.

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It certainly felt like sci-fi although I didn't know much about the science behind it. Is it really plausible to make a bomb with enough energy to restart\refuel a star? Where does all that energy come from?

I can't remember the details, but wasn't the problem about something (dark matter or something exotic like that?) having collided with the sun and was inside it causing it to fail. The bomb was to get rid of the problem and just give it the little push needed to get it back on track rather than actually replenishing its fuel supply. It already has its fuel for the next 2 or 3 billion years, it's just the process of burning it properly that was being interrupted.

Although thinking about it now, I think they did fail to mention that in the movie and I read it elsewhere.

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Ah ok. Did I imagine him appearing in a teleport like effect?

It wasn't supposed to be a teleport like effect. But they were doing all kinds of scratching and stuff to obscure him, so I can see how you may have thought that.

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What was the purpose of obscuring him?

I think that was later explained as them originally wanting him to be a fancy CG person with transparent skin, but didn't have the budget in the end. So they stuck some guy in a suit, which turned out to be rubbish, so they messed him up in a way they probably thought was artistic or edgy or some shite like that.

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I watched it the other day. I fast-forwarded to most of it, and the inside-the-bomb ending didn't make much sense.

What?

Even though I didn't enjoy this at all at the cinema, I actually want to watch it a second time now. I'm so weird.

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I think that was later explained as them originally wanting him to be a fancy CG person with transparent skin, but didn't have the budget in the end. So they stuck some guy in a suit, which turned out to be rubbish, so they messed him up in a way they probably thought was artistic or edgy or some shite like that.

Boyle says it was meant to be a break from the reality of the movie, like the toilet scene in Trainspotting. The characters actually see him in the same distorted fashion that the audience does was their idea. In the original script, it was more realistic stuff - in one scene he's so heavily backlit you can see through his skin, in another his back's reduced to charcoal with flames licking on it, in another he's got a very subtle phosphorescent glow. I imagine they simply couldn't do any of those makeup effects on their budget and had to come up with a better way of communicating how exposure to the sun had affected him.

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So, what are you doing these days? Are you doing a PhD or did you abandon that idea...if not, a PhD in what, exactly?

I never did a PhD and a part of me still regrets not plowing into this course - I had the option in 1996 through doing a MSc first but the MSc turned out to be "you pay us £2400 and we'll give you a MSc for the work you're already doing", so I said, what I'm really just paying you for the title then? Piss off, that devalues the principle behind the qualification if I can effectively just buy one.

Bah.

I'm in a theoretical chemistry group doing some stuff on chemical changes caused by excess charge. Specifically DNA damage by low-energy electrons in the wake of ionising radiation.

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Boyle says it was meant to be a break from the reality of the movie, like the toilet scene in Trainspotting. The characters actually see him in the same distorted fashion that the audience does was their idea.

I knew it! I said that way back.

I'm in a theoretical chemistry group doing some stuff on chemical changes caused by excess charge. Specifically DNA damage by low-energy electrons in the wake of ionising radiation.

Have you found anything prooving that mutant powers caused by radiation are possible?

PLEASE SAY YES.

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I can't remember the details, but wasn't the problem about something (dark matter or something exotic like that?) having collided with the sun and was inside it causing it to fail. The bomb was to get rid of the problem and just give it the little push needed to get it back on track rather than actually replenishing its fuel supply. It already has its fuel for the next 2 or 3 billion years, it's just the process of burning it properly that was being interrupted.

Although thinking about it now, I think they did fail to mention that in the movie and I read it elsewhere.

Yeah, it was something their science advisor cooked up when they asked him if the movie's premise made any sense, and it came out in interviews. Old version: the sun's dying for no known reason and they have an incomprehensibly powerful "dark matter bomb" to restart it (the backstory and much of the dialogue for Cillian Murphy's character, and the alternative filmed version of the bomb scene reflect this). New version: a supersymmetric Macguffin has fallen into the heart of the sun and is eating it up, so they build fission bombs to destroy it (giving them a reason why Icarus II is the last chance in the process). I have no idea how said Macguffin works except it seems to be something like "strange matter". And solitons? Something about solitons.

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I liked "the sun is dying for no reason" more myself. Having an explaination out there seems a bit arbitrary, and doesn't really add anything to the film. And it means there's no reason for Murphy to be up there: fission bombs are well-understood, but if it's a dark matter bomb, more's riding on him and his brain.

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I liked the characters and their characterisation.

Obviously, some of them you ''don't care for'' but that's because of their behaviour.

I was miffed the movie's lurch into slasher mode made the characters' actual personalities suddenly completely irrelevant, except Mace and Pinbacker. Which is a shame as they did a good job of exploring the characters (albeit in a low-key way) through the earlier disasters.

I'll say one thing for the ending, I've never been so awestruck by a sci-fi film. They got the sense of the ship hanging there in the face of the sun just right.

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I was miffed the movie's lurch into slasher mode made the characters' actual personalities suddenly completely irrelevant, except Mace and Pinbacker. Which is a shame as they did a good job of exploring the characters (albeit in a low-key way) through the earlier disasters.

I'll say one thing for the ending, I've never been so awestruck by a sci-fi film. They got the sense of the ship hanging there in the face of the sun just right.

If you could somehow prise out the slasher stuff, it would genuinely be one of the best sci-fi movies ever made. As it is, it's merely a good one with some great moments.

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Even if Pinbacker had just been something other than a buff slashing machine (anyone else notice he seems to be doing pushups when Capa finds him?), it would've worked better. If he was more of a low-key threat haunting the Icarus II, maybe. You'd still be stuck with having an outside influence invade the ship after doing such interesting things with Trey, mind you. Writing sure is difficult...

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The science advisor on this film was Brian Cox, who was my flatmate's supervisor when he worked at Fermilab in Chicago, and is apparently a massive wanker. What killed the film for me was the confused last twenty minutes; the film never established that the bomb is so massive that it has a noticeable gravity field, and as such I had absolutely fuck all idea what was actually happening at the end. All they needed was a bit saying "this is the bomb; it is so massive, you can walk on the side."

Scientifically, that's ridiculous, but it's no more implausible than the rest of the film. Apparently, the original script stated that the bomb was the mass of the moon, and this was changed by Brian Cox to the mass of Manhattan, as that would be less implausible. Thing is, if they change that, they should have changed the ending of the film, because it seems weird to object to the bomb being a particular size, but not object to all the weird gravity shit at the end.

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They actually filmed a scene where Capa mentions the sheer scale of the bomb and how it means that it has its own gravity. It was compressed dark matter or something. I think that having it the mass of the moon would've tipped it right over the edge of plausability, so personally I'd rather they lost the "sliding down the side" scene. It didn't quite work for other reasons too, because the edge Pinbacker dropped them off should've been more like a ridge than a cliff.

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