Available at Amazon.com
Michelle Yeoh………. Corazon
Danny Boyle might be the best director working today who gets less merit than most of his contemporaries. Virtually every time he releases a film in the states, he gets wide praise and the film usually goes on Top 10 lists of the year. Trainspotting and Millions were both amongst the best films of the year when they were released, and yet no one really talks about Boyle as a master of his craft in the same respect that Chris Nolan and Peter Jackson are spoken of. While he may not be able to use the star power the former does, or be responsible for the highest grossing trilogy of our time like the latter, but Boyle should be spoken of in the same way. And with the science fiction thriller Sunshine, Boyle crafted a brilliant film that didn’t find an audience in its initial, limited release.
Sunshine has a rather intriguing premise. The sun is dying and the crew of the Icarus II is on a mission to restart it. Led by Captain Kaneda (Hiroyuki Sanada), the Icarus II has a payload to deliver that may or may not work. They aren’t the first attempt, as the original Icarus was lost seven years after launch. The crew is mankind’s last, best hope at saving Earth from a permanent winter. And what could easily be either a retread of some failed Aliens sequel or a generic action film like Armageddon turns into a science fiction thriller on par with the original Solaris or 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The film gets a lot of things right, but first and foremost is the physics. The film presents the actual science of what is happening in a clear and crisp manner, which is refreshing for a change. But what’s more refreshing, is that it doesn’t bend the laws of physics to make it more cinematic. The film has good physics and better science, which is always a plus as it adds a further credibility to the proceedings. Everything that happens in the film feels real in a way that Ben Affleck shooting a machine gun in space doesn’t.
Boyle is chief at creating atmosphere, which is how the film keeps being engrossing. There is no grand ceremony sending everyone into space nor is there any of the usual “disaster movie” clichés evident; Boyle wants a white-knuckle thriller and is intent on keeping it that way from the beginning. The crew is made up of scientists and cowboys, but no one is an archetype or a stereotype. They are the best and brightest available to do the job, without any of the sort of clichéd baggage given to characters in this situation. They are on edge because this is a dangerous mission that will most likely kill them all, not because of some bad story arc intended to get them to their point. This is an intelligent, bone-chilling thriller that hasn’t been seen in decades for good reason: it’s hard to do well, but when it is it’s done magnificently. Everything happens for a reason and builds up to a fantastic conclusion in terms of story-line, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective if wasn’t for the film’s visual style.
The film is also filled with terrific visuals. This is a beautiful looking film that saves some of its best visuals for later on in the film. Sunshine goes for visuals that are much less trendy as opposed to iconic; Boyle knew what he was doing story-line wise and wanted the film’s top notch story to match its script. It’s the sort of visuals that are designed around the story, not the story itself. Boyle designs everything to look futuristic, obviously as the film does take place in the near future, but it doesn’t overwhelm the film as Boyle is able to use the camera effectively enough to keep the atmosphere from becoming more about the effects than about the story.
While Sunshine didn’t find an audience in a summer filled with big, loud action films, it was one of 2007’s best and easily the best sci-fi film of the decade.
A/V QUALITY CONTROL
Presented in a widescreen format with a Dolby Digital sound, the film looks and sounds amazing. This is a film that thrives on a big epic score and amazing visuals and the DVD doesn’t disappoint.
Several Deleted Scenes, complete with commentary from Boyle, have mainly been deleted for pacing purposes it seems. Most of them are just actual scenes of things that happen that are skipped over or don’t contain much relevance to the film’s plot as a whole.
Web Production Diaries, most of which were originally shown on Yahoo during the film’s theatrical run, are included as well.
Two short films, Dad’s Dead by Chris Shepherd and Mole Hills by Dan Arnold, are included.
The film’s Theatrical Trailer is included as well.
There are two Commentary tracks to choose from. One is from Boyle, the other from Dr. Brian Cox of the University of Manchester (the film’s science advisor).
|The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Sunshine
||RATING(OUT OF 10)
||9.5(NOT AN AVERAGE)|