I had a weekend filled with activity including the viewing of two very different films that both, oddly, worship the flame.
Friday night I bolted from the cube farm at 6:00 pm sharp with great anticipation for I knew that I was about to get immersed in the new Danny Boyle film, Sunshine. Now before I launch into my completely hackneyed review, I will tell you that I'm a bit biased when it comes to the genre in which this film finds its home. To put it bluntly, if there's a spaceship in it, I'm likely to watch it or read it with fervent glee whether the selection be good, bad, ugly or a combination thereof.
Moving right along...
Ahhh yes, Sunshine. Visually, the film is stunning. This fact alone was enough to keep my attention from straying. Okay, exterior of the the ship looked like a big skeletal phallus topped by a disco ball with a lobotomy, but what a shining glittery beauty it was nonetheless!
Okay, let's begin at the beginning shall we? Premise? Set in the future (obviously) where our sun happens to be dying. The human race, ever resourceful and apparently without plans for alternative real estate, decides to reignite our failing star. After a thwarted attempt at doing just that by a first mission on a ship called the Icarus I, a new multinational crew aboard a second ship, the Icarus II, attempt to achieve what the first crew and ship could not, shoot an enormous explosive (contained within the lobotomized disco ball) into the center of our sun in order to reignite the light.
C'mon, you all know that this plan is bound for failure...
What's sci fi without its tension-filled conundrums, fiery explosions, the vastness of space sucking little human forms through all of those vacuous broken airlocks?
Oh, but did I mention that the first mission was lost? Without a trace? Or so we were lead to believe??? Yeah well, this fact doesn't stop the sucking airlock action.
Alrighty then. So, the Icarus II is speeding its way toward the sun, introducing its crew members to the audience (check out Sunshine's website for detailed info about the cast) along the route, when a crew member, aptly the ship's communications officer, just so happens to hear a distress signal from none other than the Icarus I. A very brief discussion amongst the ship's inhabitants regarding the best way in which to handle this development results in a chorus of fingers pointing in the direction of the ship's physicist (read bomb babysitter) so that he may shoulder the final decision for the group. Sure, let the geeky dude be the fall guy. Anyway, bomb dude makes the painstaking decision to steer sequel ship in the direction of original recipe in order to, you know, search for any survivors (even though they probably haven't eaten for seven years) and more importantly ensure the success of his crew's mission by hitching bomb numero uno to their ship and taking it with 'em. Far-fetched? Hell yeah, but that's what makes this stuff GOOD!
Did I mention the film is pretty???
Okay, so this is point in the program where everyone in the film gets picked off one by one. Awesome. The captain dies by bursting into flame while trying to fix a malfunctioning shield panel. Cool. The navigation officer slits his wrists. Messy. The ship's shrink sacrifices himself in some rays aboard the Icarus I. Cool redux. The communications officer gets blasted out of the airlock sans groovy Metropolis-esque space garb, becoming an instant space-cicle. Ouch. The ship's engineer plays sequel to the communications dude, freezing in the vehicle's coolant pool while trying to jump-start ye olde Icarus II after Freddy Krueger made a mess of things. Ouch, ouch.
Wait a minute. How did Freddy Krueger get aboard the Icarus II?
Well, the man threw his dirty striped sweater to wind, opting for a new kinda crazy aboard the Icarus I. Seriously, who needs dreamscapes when you can torture peeps in the flesh?
Still confused. Well, let me clarify.
Icarus I's captain, Freddy for our purposes, after watching his shipmates torch themselves in some awesome rays aboard the observation deck of the ship, apparently became a bit loopy. Really, I don't know if his demeanor was due to the fact that he watched all of his shipmates bite the dust (literally) in a tremendous inferno, if he just got a little too much sun himself or if he's just cranky because he wants a burger. Whatever the reason for this psychotic break, he's super tan, definitely discontented and sneaky enough to board the sequel ship and blow the airlock to the original recipe enabling him to continue his malcontent low-cal ways. Low blood sugar can make one pretty darn cranky.
Back to the death blow by blow...
The ships biologist gets slasher-filmed by Freddy from behind. Ooops. The final three...the bomb dude, some emotional chick named Cassie and Freddy (finally getting his due) meet their blazing demise by rocketing into the center of the sun while contained in the lobotomized disco ball. The end.
Predictable as this film was in parts, it's still a good story. And did I mention it's pretty? Really. It's a visual treat, well, except for Freddy. He wasn't lookin' so good.
Journey to the Flames
Movie number two from this weekend last...
"Join a group of friends as they head to one of the largest social experiments in the world. 30,000 people meet out in the desert to create a city out of empty desert. The rules are simple: no commerce; bring what you need to survive; leave no trace; participants only; no spectators. Take a journey into a world of art, music, sexuality and fire. Lots of fire."
Okay, so the hubs and I were invited to screen this documentary with two friends who happen to be Burning Man diehards. Needless to say, hubby and I are Burning Man nohards.
Ooooh, that sounds nasty.
Actually it sounds like we both suffer from ED, which is a distinct impossibility for moi. I digress...
Anyway, my friends invited us to the screening in an effort to enlighten us.
People, I went to art school.
For eight years!
Okay, it took me six years to finish my Bachelor's Degree. Stow yer judgments. I finished the MFA in the requisite two years. Jeesh.
Anyway, naked, fire, dancing, beat up cars with dirty Barbies glued to the hood, wigs, Yves Klein blue boobies? That was my coffee break in between classes while doing the art school thang. Okay, the desert would be a new twist on the aforementioned, but hey, I'm old and it's dusty there!
Although, I thought the film was a lot of fun. The group of friends that the filmmaker followed through eight consecutive years of the festival were completely engaging to watch and their passion for the experience was definitely palpable, but I'm still not going.
I did however come away from the screening with tons of ideas for my Mongolian expedition gear. A cape trimmed in EL Wire would make a phenomenal piece of travel garb amidst the backdrop of the Gobi Desert don't you think? Okay, maybe not a necessity. Work with me people!
Anyway, I love that my buds are Burning Man diehards. I love that they dragged me to this screening and editorialized each scene with their own specific BM reflections. I also love that there is a festival filled with thousands of peeps hell-bent on personal expression in the middle of the Nevada desert in the middle of August!
That. Takes. Devotion.
You go, you playa par-tay-ers you!
It's all about the fire baby.