Codes and conventions of Science fiction within Danny Boyle's Sunshine

Essay by TEEKAYUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2009

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Peter Takac 0710588

Examine a single American genre film in relation to its particular use of genre conventions.

Danny Boyle: Sunshine (2007)

Sunshine by Danny Boyle is a science fiction film that uses a lot of traditional codes and conventions of the science fiction genre. It uses codes and conventions from both the semantic and syntactic approach such as setting in the future, objects like spaceships and new technologies, characters like scientists ect. In a lot of ways the codes and conventions are traditional but Sunshine also innovates the genre.

There are several approaches to define science fiction as a genre - semantic (descriptive) approach and a syntactic approach. The semantic approach tries to define the genres according to its visual codes and conventions such as settings, objects and characters. Science fiction films are usually set in the future, another galaxy or dimension. The film Sunshine is set in a relatively near future - fifty years from now in the year 2057.

We are introduced to a crew of eight astronauts\scientists whose mission is to fly a nuclear bomb to 'the heart of our nearest star' and restart the nuclear reactions in its core. This kind of a mission is one of the characteristics of science fiction. According to Cook [Cook, 2007] science fiction involves extrapolated or fictituouse science, or fictituouse use of scientific possibilities. The genre shows the potential of new technologies, but also considers the potential threats.

The astronauts are flying towards the Sun on Icarus II. Icarus II is the spaceship that is attached to the back of the stellar bomb. From the semantic approach the spaceship in the film is also one of the conventional objects of science fiction films. Another type of conventional objects are products of new technologies, like A.I. computers. These objects...