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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

2001: An Event Horizon

Imagine a world in which The Sword of Shannara was written before the Lord of the Rings. It's good, Tolkien's critics might say, but its just a reworking of that Brook's drivel - isn't Gandalf just Allanon with a beard? Why has Shea shrunk? Swords, rings, who cares?

In a more just Universe Danny Boyle's new film, Sunshine, would have been released in 1997 and I would now be saying that the newly released film Event Horizon was derivative rubbish, but unfortunately this isn't a just Universe, and it's Sunshine that has just been released 10 years too late.

Sunshine isn't a bad film, in fact in some places it puts aside its pointless loopy captain and attains a kind of beatific Zen wonder, but its to little to late (or more accurately to soon, because it's the first half that's great). It's carefully put together, I love the fact that nothing is explained but it all still makes sense (the international crew, the gold space suits, the botanic garden). It's an ode to 2001, which deserves the homage, and it's just as pretty, but it's the shadow of Event Horizon that stretches an inglorious sunspot over the film. Ship goes off to do something importantly MacGuffinish and doesn't come back, another ship follows because the MacGuffin is important, the second ship finds the first ship. Much is weird. At this point someone goes bonkers, some other folk die, pause for transcendental moment... and release. Actually its kind of like Sphere as well :-(

Oh well. The direction is great, the performances are believable and the Sun is beautiful. Forget the annoyingly pointless burnt-out third act and focus on the Star. What can you see, what can you see? A missed opportunity that's what :-(

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