Del and Mladen review ‘Sunshine’

Scene from SUNSHINE

“Sunshine” Starring Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh. Directed by Danny Boyle. 107 minutes. Rated R.

Del’s take

I read the hype for “Sunshine” and was prepared to have my socks blown off. When Kari offered to let me borrow her Netflix rental I jumped at the chance, even splurging on a pizza for what was pitched as the reinvention of the science fiction movie.

I can sum up my opinion of “Sunshine” in five words: Stupid people doing stupid things.

“Sunshine” is like that gorgeous blond you admire from afar until you work up the courage to introduce yourself … only to realize minutes later this is perhaps the dumbest person you’ve ever met in your life.

What a disappointment.

In “Sunshine,” the sun is dying. But humanity has scrounged every bit of its fissionable material to build a bomb that will create a “sun within a sun.” (What a stupid premise – even if a bomb the size of Earth itself were hurled into the sun the effects wouldn’t be significant. But don’t get me started.)

Our crew must fly the spacebomb (like this movie) into low solar orbit, launch the bomb and skedaddle before their butts are fried. They represent the second such attempt; the first ship mysteriously disappeared.

As they approach the planet Mercury they detect strange radio signals – it’s the first spaceship, adrift in that charbroiled region of space. Should they change course and attempt a rescue? (No!, you’re screaming at the screen. The fate of humanity rests on the success of your mission! Don’t sacrifice an entire planet for the eight-member crew of another spaceship who are probably dead anyway!)

But OF COURSE they change course (stupid). Then, one of the engineers forgets to reorient the shields and the spacecraft is threatened with incineration (really stupid). In order to fix it they must go outside and manually lower the shield plates. In the process the captain gets incinerated (beyond stupid) and the greenhouse, which generates their oxygen, is burned up (conveniently stupid). So they’re forced to rendezvous with the other ship … which just happens to be haunted by the insane spirit of its microwaved captain … he manages to find his way to the second ship and wreak havoc. …

I won’t tell you how “Sunshine” ends because (a) you shouldn’t care, (b) you should have switched off the DVD player and tuned in “Extreme Home Makeover,” and (c) it’s stupid.

My advice is stay away from this train wreck of plot holes, logic flaws and non sequitors, and use your time for a more meaningful pursuit … like watching ice melt.

“Sunshine” gets five yawns.

Mladen’s take

The pizza Del ate watching “Sunshine” must have gone down wrong. But, instead of getting heartburn, Del fell victim to brain-burn.

“Sunshine” is a fine movie with very good special effects that don’t overwhelm the plot.

The movie has a purpose.

It’s about sacrifice and conceit. It’s about hope and despair. And it has a couple of cute and brainy ladies as co-stars.

Slowly unfolding mishaps, each more consequential than its predecessor, transform the 90 million mile journey to save Earth from amiable boredom in the beginning to a tense, other-worldly sci-fi thriller toward the end.

Del mocks the scientist that forgot to reset Icarus II’s sunshield, which jeopardized the mission, after changing the vessel’s course to rendezvous with a derelict spaceship.

But Del, a rabid space exploration enthusiast, has conveniently forgotten a real-life incident Sept. 23, 1999.

Hyper-trained scientists working to put NASA’s $125 million probe Climate Orbiter in orbit around Mars confused each other when one team used English measure units — inches, feet — and the other, metric units — centimeters and meters.

The likely result was an expensive machine plummeting through the Red Planet’s atmosphere and burning up.

People do make mistakes — I mean look at what the Supreme Court did when it put Bush into the White House nearly eight years ago — and that’s a fact.

“Sunshine” doesn’t have the majesty or grandeur of, say, Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

But, its ending is intelligible and, ultimately, redeeming.

“Sunshine” is good enough for me to consider adding it to my DVD collection, right there next to “Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.”

Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical editor. Del Stone Jr. is a journalist and author.

“Transformers” Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, John Voight, John Turturro. Directed by Michael Bay. 144 minutes. Rated PG.

Mladen’s take

It’s becoming a habit, one I must shed, or, before I know it, it’ll end with me finding something redeeming about the Bush administration.

“Transformers” is another movie — “Bug” falls into the same category — that does one brief thing right: forcing me to temper an otherwise bitter review that’s based on the dozens of things that went wrong.

The film’s nearly saving grace happens toward the end.

Bad-bot Megatron, sprawled on a crushed roadway after falling from a skyscraper during battle with good-bot Optimus Prime, finds itself near a human.

The four-story-tall robot utters, “Disgusting” and, using its index finger, flicks the human dozens of feet into a car.

Hilarious, because that’s the way I feel about humanity.

It’s too bad my index finger isn’t large enough to flick a grown man through the air. Then again, I’d have to use the finger ceaselessly for years to flick everybody that needs flicking.

“Transformers” is visually glorious crap. The movie is a vast advertisement for toys, GM vehicles that never get dirty and the Air Force. See it for no other reason than this: It’s cheaper now that it can be rented on DVD than when it was in theaters.

Del’s take

You’ll have to forgive Mladen. A big walrus of a guy flicked him off and he’s still hanging from a branch by the waistband of his Hanes.

It’s cut off the circulation to his brain.

Of course “Transformers” is crap, Mladen. Were you expecting “Anna Karenina”?

I too was expecting to hate “Transformers,” for the following reasons:

It was directed by Michael Bay, who managed to turn Pearl Harbor into a thrill ride at Universal.

And I could never keep track of who’s who: Is Vomitor a good robot or a bad robot?

Finally, if nature called at 3 in the morning and, on your way to the bathroom, you stepped on one of the approximately 10,000 pieces of Transformer toys left on the floor by your nephews, well, you can forget making it to the toilet.

But I was pleasantly surprised by “Transformers.” It’s a fun story told in a fun way.

The pace is fast, the dialogue snappy, the special effects mind-blowing and it never, ever takes itself seriously.

Casting Shia LaBeouf in the lead role was smart – his Ritalin-deprived approach plays nicely with the movie’s other parts. And Megan Fox is sufficiently sexy to compel LaBeouf’s romantic fantasies – clumsily adolescent fantasies – without posing any serious threat to what I’m assuming is his virginity.

If you accept “Transformers” for what it is – a bit of innocent fun that requires 144 minutes of your life – you won’t be disappointed.

Now, somebody help Mladen down from that tree.

Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical editor. Del Stone Jr. is a journalist and author.