Offworld, Episode 3: Sunshine (2007)

On this episode of Offworld, we revisit the Danny Boyle science fiction film Sunshine, in which a crew is sent to reignite the Sun. We’re joined by astrophysicist and Professor of Astronomy Gibor Basri to discuss the science of the film and which parts hold up (and the parts that don’t). What would the bomb the size of Manhattan do to the Sun?

Comments (9)

9 thoughts on “Offworld, Episode 3: Sunshine (2007)

  1. I do like Sunshine, but I am a fan of horror movies. I can totally understand enjoying the first 1/2 for its story and imagery and feeling it is ruined by everything else that happens. I would love to see an episode of this show about the Sam Rockwell movie Moon. It would be interesting to hear how much of that is possible. Can we really harvest something of use from the moon? It would be a little harder to relate to science but I would love to see an episode about Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy…just because I love it. I have a tattoo of Sam Rockwell as the president of the galaxy. Love this new show! Keep it up!

  2. I’m with Professor Gibor Basri. I took my wife to see Sunshine in the cinema, we both left hating it. The only cinema experience that felt like a bait and switch (except maybe Highlander 2). Sunshine seems like two different movies glued together. Although I did like the imagery of the sun and ship. Interesting point about how long it takes radiation to escape the sun.

    Just like to comment on the reference to The Core. It did introduce wonder material “Unobtainium” into our cultural lexicon, but interestingly that term has been used by aerospace engineers since the late 50s (when referencing best case properties for whatever application without actually knowing what it would be).

  3. I love these series. It would be great to see them as a bit more of a deep dive. Currently, it feels like there has been a lot left on the cutting room floor.

  4. Fight the corner. If you like a movie, you have to say why. Thinking about movies that are visually appealing but devoid of anything else of note, might include TRON Legacy (although the soundtrack stands out), which stand on their own as architectural pieces (Syd Mead’s futurism had a huge influence on popular culture that extended beyond the movie).

    I love the show length, I’d agree with the other comment about a deeper dive. It’s easy to point out flaws in movies in terms of facts, but they are also art, with stories behind them. Why did Sunshine turn into a horror show? Never thought to google it.

  5. I would have liked to hear more about Dr. Basri’s experience teaching the Science of Science Fiction class,

    Kishore’s comment about “nod[s] to the science” and “knowing too much” science to judge the movie as somehow “good enough”, would seem to have missed the point of asking a scientist to critique the movie. His complaint — as a scientist — was that the plot hinged upon a crisis that would not occur and which could not have been fixed by the means described.

    The indictment ought to be upon the film makers — who’s craft and artistry were insufficient to inspire a willing suspension of disbelief in spite of the errors and distortions of science.

    You may argue that movie was not produced for an audience of astrophysicists, but to pursue that line you’d really have ask Dr. Basri if he’d ever enjoyed or could recommend a science fiction movie that got things as badly wrong as did Alex Garland and Danny Boyle with Sunshine. Again, since he’d taught a class in the Science of Science Fiction, he might have answered as a connoisseur.

  6. I loved Sunshine, I get the criticism of the end, but the EVA suits were enough of a cool factor for me to forgive how jarring the last third ended up being. I love this series and would really like to see one about Interstellar, or Event Horizon! Thanks!

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