It’ll be interesting when man travels past the moon to far away places in outer space. The science of it will be reason enough for the rest of the world’s population to pay attention, but I want to find out, more than anything, if every deep space crew in real life runs into the same problems that they do in the movies.
In Sunshine, a movie by director Danny Boyle, I thought that the deep space crew in the film would be relatively free of space movie cliches. This just didn’t seem like one of those movies. But I’ll be damned if at the end of the movie Cillian Murphy wasn’t racing panicked through the corridor of his space ship, determined to detonate a nuclear bomb before a clock reached zero.
That isn’t to say that Sunshine isn’t a good movie. It does raise some interesting questions about a scenario in which humans try to re-ignite a sun that’s dying, and it creates technology that actually seems realistic enough to deal with the problem. For instance the ship has a huge reflective shield to protect it from the sun’s deadly rays and the crew grows their own plants for food and oxygen. Both nice touches.
But as the film progresses, the space movie cliches rack up, and then Sunshine takes a questionable turn into the slasher genre that puts the film over the edge. A similar fate happened in Danny Boyle’s The Beach. There may not have been any slashers, but by the time Leo DiCaprio is banished to the woods and pretending to act out his own real-life video game, that film just lost me. Unfortunately, the same thing happened here.
I would have been happy with a long, talky movie about a crew that actually does manage to re-ignite the sun without many problems. But I guess I am a dork. Start talking outer space and I am all yours for two hours. Maybe I should just go rent Solaris. The Russian version.
Sunshine‘s 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture is rock solid. Deep space blacks are crisp and rich, and the close-ups of the sun made me feel hot in my own living room. There were no noticeable flaws with the picture. No complaints here.
The disc’s Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is bass-heavy. While I think it went a little overboard in low-frequency usage, you may love it. I wish the film would have been as aggressive in other aspects, like the surround speakers, but this is still a very good sounding disc. Not since 2 Live Crew has a disc provided this much bass. Just be ready to adjust your subwoofer settings.
Where to begin? Sunshine is loaded with very good and informative special features.
First up is the Commentary by Director Danny Boyle. Boyle gushes a lot about his boy Cillian, and who can blame him. Cillian is one of today’s hottest actors. Boyle is always enthusiastic, which is nice, because he mostly just describes the action on screen.
For the more interesting version, check out the Commentary by Dr. Brian Cox (not the actor). Dr. Cox drops scientific knowledge like it’s hot. Whether he’s explaining his decision to go with the most realistic “dying son” theory for the film or discussing the aspects of the spaceship, Dr. Cox is always fascinating.
Next up are the standard issue Deleted Scenes. And there are a lot. There’s some minor character development here and there, but nothing that would have improved the original film much. The alternate ending is not very alternate either.
There are a whole slew of short Web Production Diaries. Each one tackles a different subject, whether it’s an actor from the film, or a scientific theory used in the movie. Some of them can be pretty funny, so be sure to check them out.
Strangely, two short films pop up, and man are they strange. They are unrelated to the film, but there is a short intro from Danny Boyle, who doesn’t really make sense of anything.
Rounding out the special features is a Trailer for the film.
I’m not sure what to make of Sunshine. I liked the premise, but not the execution. The space movie cliches are here in number, and I’m still scratching my head over the last thirty minutes. I enjoyed Sunshine, but there definitely some things that may make you go Hmmmm. That said, the disc is given the royal treatment from Fox, who polished up the picture and sound, and slapped on a bunch of informative and entertaining special features. So go get some Sunshine while I head for the shade.