It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
As a permanent winter settles upon the Earth, a spaceship is sent on a desperate mission to drop a nuclear device into the sick sun and "re-ignite" it. To name the ship "Icarus I" seems like asking for trouble in two ways, considering the fate of the original Icarus and the use of a numeral that ominously leaves room for a sequel. Indeed, the first ship disappears. As "Sunshine" opens, the "Icarus II" with seven astronauts on board is approaching Mercury, protected by a shield that protects it from solar incineration.
Considering that the movie is set only 50 years in the future, the sun seems to be dying several billion years prematurely, especially in a "hard" (i.e., quasi-plausible) science-fiction film. Man, am I glad I didn't go off on a rant about that before learning that the film's science adviser, Dr. Brian Cox of CERN (Conseil Europeen Pour le Recherche Nucleaire [European Laboratory for Particle Physics]), thought of it, too.
The sun is not "dying in the normal sense," IMDb.com reports, but in the Cox scenario "has instead been 'infected' with a 'Q-ball' -- a supersymetric nucleus, left over from the Big Bang...that is disrupting the normal matter. This is a theoretical particle that scientists at CERN are currently trying to confirm -- the film's bomb is meant to blast the Q-ball to its constituent parts, which will then naturally decay, allowing the sun to return to normal."
I'll buy that. Blasting a Q-ball to its constituent parts sounds normal to me, but then I read every sci-fi magazine published during my adolescence, and my hero was John W. Campbell Jr., the editor of Astounding/Analog, who insisted his fiction not be preposterous, but sensible and possible, such as a mission to the sun to blast a Q-ball to pieces.