If you’re like me, you missed Sunshine in theaters, maybe because it looked a little bit like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is the only movie that ever made me want to cut my wrists to avoid watching the remaining 48 hours of it (felt that long).
But if you’re like me and you take the time to watch Danny Boyle’s Sci-Fi mindbender, you’ll find there’s lots to love. Sunshine follow the crew of the Icarus-2 space shuttle, a massive behemoth so large you need motorized Razor scooters to traverse it. The goal? Quite simply to deliver a city sized bomb to the heart of the sun and fire its engines back up to prevent the big freeze from wiping out Earth. Icarus-2, of course, follows Icarus-1, a sister ship mysteriously lost in transit to the sun.
The crew features a well rounded cast that all perform well, though some aren’t given much to do. Cillian Murphy stars, but Cliff Curtis and Chris Evans steal the show with the performances. Hiroyuki Sanada plays the Captain with an understated brilliance that made him both immediately likable and respectable. There are no lazy performances on board this ship.
After passing Mercury, the Icarus-2 finds something unexpected – the Icarus-1. An accidental miscalculation damages the Icarus-2, forcing them to rendezvous with the strangely intact sister ship to search for supplies. Till this point, things had been mildly strained and only slightly weird with amazingly beautiful imagery of the sun burning into your mind and searing into the psyche of those aboard the ship. As she moves slowly towards the sun, sanity is slowly left behind.
It is here, after docking with the Icarus-1, that the movie takes an unexpected turn that leaves some viewers feeling dry. I personally enjoyed it, though thought it could have been handled a touch better in a few places. But, if you’ve paid close attention to the film to this point, you’ll understand exactly why everything is happening the way it is.
The film is more than adeptly shot by Danny Boyle, who again proves himself a talent. The writing is good and tense, and the cinematography done well. The real star, however, is the star itself – our sun. The CGI in this film works and it woks great. You feel the light and the darkness and understand the character motivations caused by it. The wide variety of shots, from sweeping pans to extreme close-ups both titillate, captivate, and hint at what’s to come.
The DVD itself is presented well, I viewed the Standard Definition, though I’m strongly considering picking up an HD copy as I’d imagine the movie would look crisp and fantastic. The extras are ok, with an in-depth commentary from director Boyle and one from a science expert. We get a smattering of deleted scenes, most of which deserved to be deleted. The alternate ending left me feeling extremely flat, as did some of the deleted scenes which were actually different takes. The movie as is was a delight, the stuff they replaced could have been disaster. Also included are some short-films that Boyle explains as he wants to give them exposure as shorts are very rarely ever seen. I have to agree with his desire to put them on there and think its cool – however, they’re not that good. In fact one is outright terrible. Oh well. The film itself is great and strongly recommended.
The Upside: Beautiful sequences of the sun and space.
The Downside: You’ll either love or hate the ending.
On the Side: When I asked my friend what he thought of it, his words were: “It’s like our generations 2001 A Space Odyssey, only it doesn’t suck.” I’d have to agree.
Movie Grade: A
DVD Grade: B-