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Hello Sunshine

Yow! Danny Boyle sure knows his way around viscerally suspenseful beautiful exhausting movies, no?


i liked it

it was so pretty (in every way) that I was willing to forgive its not insignificant flaws.

Fwiw, it has a metascore of 64 = generally favorable.

Also, this review is very on target, but also very very spoilery:

I guess I lost my taste for using cliches as abstraction.

It still strikes me as funny that the bit my film guru really liked (you know... surprise! horror movie!) was what every review I've read or person I saw it with didn't.

Me? I don't know. A very, very interesting idea, well executed, raises some questions that need to be raised about just *what* we are viewing... but totally unanchored, disconnected from the rest of the movie. Yes, there were sfx before, lots of them, but I lost any sense of the camera hacking reality because it was so occupied with recording the puzzle-piece assembly of standard SF plot/character tropes.

I don't think those are inherently bad but they necessarily depend on something *outside* the movie, are reconstituted by our collective memory of what other films have defined SF to be. We know what happens here because that's how the pulp plots go. That's important and necessary, but it spun out of control here. What we're *seeing* becomes unimportant, pushed out, because these structures depend on procedures and internal monologues and stuff that is mostly inherited from print/Star Trek/etc. Stuff that's off-camera, that's voiceover. Pure form.

Even the first observation room sequence, which could have been carried by the effects alone. Why, why, why the AI with the female telephone voice that props up someone's profound thoughts? Again? That's what the visuals are supposed to be for, that's what *acting* is for... it doesn't buy us anything, and it's extra mental weight, keeping track of a character that's not a character; she turns most of the should-be-tense moments into rote exercises (I mean... override codes? Srsly.) and kills (almost) any notion of the ship's architecture being spatial rather than logical. It's a false god because it can't control the camera like the deified sun.

If I had to come up with one principle to reduce filmmaking to, it would be: You cannot tell a story and make something visually compelling at the same time. This is why there are shortcuts in each. Tropes allow you to sweep enough of the story under the rug (because all your viewers already get it) to make room for seeing instead of telling. Visual literacy allows you to waste less time on effects/composition and playing games with who-or-what-is-the-camera, so that you can still fit a story into the images.

2001 did it (although I still find all of Kubrick rather interminable), Solaris did it... this just didn't for me. And we're far more visually literate these days. (Or are we?)

I really liked the MPEG-ish artifacts on the video from the Icarus 1 guy, though. Very intelligent way of connecting our disintermediation of "seeing" with the characters'. (This is the only reason i give the creepy freeze-frames a pass.) And the point is that that effect that no one liked (you know... surprise! *arty* horror movie!) doesn't just appear because it was important and visual and impressive, it was (retroactively) reflected by how our view of the narrative was incomplete, at that point, before anything was visually apparent.

It's the sort of thing that makes you hope for the future. We will see this improved upon next summer.
I should mention that almost nothing in the movie came as a surprise to me because I watched the extended trailer [apple] when I was looking for something to show me how nifty it was to watch quicktime on iPhone. I now realize that "extended trailer" means "4:28 film synopsis".

Nevertheless, it was a Monday after work and the gym and it was too muggy to go home. I was looking for something pretty to watch that might leave me feeling a little roughed up. On these fronts, it delivered. I'm glad that I saw it alone or I might have felt the need to start dissecting and disengaging on-the-fly and instead of flinching at the gross parts and tensing up when the Underworld and John Murphy soundtrack wanted me to.

It was only on the way home that I started to think about all of the big and small things that were wrong with it. How maybe the story wasn't necessary and the details were a bit off and really that it didn't need the sunburned monster to chase everyone around because isn't enough that they're all going to die anyway? The artyness of it all certainly helped, but I'm a sucker for pretty things.

I wonder if this will be improved upon next summer. I think that 28 Days Later was a better (then again, it did what I wanted with "surprise! it's not really a zombie film at all!"). I also wonder how long Cillian Murphy will be allowed to be a scrawny, odd looking movie star.