(2007/Blu-ray + DVD-Video)
A-/C+†††† Sound: A-/B-†††† Extras: B†††† Film: B
that take place in outer space of late have been shallow space operas, stupid
fantasy exercises or just messes that should have never been greenlit.† The last really strong one whose combination
of Sci-Fi, Horror and Mystery worked was Paul W.S. Andersonís Event Horizon (1997, the Resident Evil director, reviewed
elsewhere on this site) which dealt with the mysterious disappearance of a
space ship and a new ship sent to search for the both the reason and some
answers.† A decade later, Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) revisits this kind of stark, serious, chilling,
mature territory in Sunshine (2007,)
but the stakes are much higher.
time, the ship missing could cost the earth dearly as it was sent out with a
very special cargo designed to reignite a dying sun.† With the future of the whole solar system in
their hands, a crew consisting of experts in various fields (Cillian Murphy,
Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict
Wong, Michelle Yeoh) are on their way before it is too late, but what should be
easy will have more than its share of complications and when the reason the
first ship has disappeared surfaces, the consequences will be fatal.
get action and suspense, but what is most impressive with Alex Garlandís
impressive screenplay is that they are able to revisit the territory of Event Horizon, Kubrickís 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ridley Scottís Alien and Douglas Trumbullís Silent Running, but still manage to
stand out in the presence of such brilliant filmmaking.† Another reason is an exceptional cast with
more chemistry than you usually get in such films.† Then there is Boyle, who has reached a new
peak of directing powers as I donít know if he could have pulled this off even
a few years ago.† With impressive
visuals, editing choices and a density we used to see in films all the time,
you become enmeshed in the world as much as you do the storyline.
manages to keep up this pace for the whole film is the best thing of all, doing
what films are supposed to do: take us somewhere we have never been
before.† Though it has a few
predecessors, Sunshine also has very
few peers and after being a hit everywhere in the world but the U.S., itís
great to see it finally arrive on DVD and especially Blu-ray.
2.35 X 1 AVC @ 16 MBPS digital High Definition image was shot by Director of
Photography Alwin Kuchler, B.S.C., in 35mm HawkScope which uses real anamorphic
lenses to create the scope image and not cheaper, weak Super 35mm means.† In addition, 65mm negative was shot in
certain sets and for certain sequences, plates and sequences, resulting in one
of the best-looking films of 2007 and a high performance picture for
Blu-ray.† Yes, there are digital effects,
but they are among the best weíve seen in years making this very engaging
viewing worthy of the 35mm version I was lucky enough to screen in its limited
release.† The anamorphically enhanced DVD
is a disappointment by comparison, in part because the old low-def format just
cannot handle all this picture information.
mix is also one of the best of the year, presented in a DTS HD Master Audio
(MA) lossless 5.1 mix that is demo quality and even if you cannot decode the
full MA signal, will never fail to impress those with a good home theater
system.† The DVD sadly only comes with a
Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is pretty good, but is just not match for the DTS
here.† Dialogue is well-recorded and the
John Murphy/Underworld score is one of the most interesting of the year.
include two exceptional audio commentary tracks (one by Boyle, the other by Dr.
Brian Cox of The University of Manchester,) deleted scenes with optional Boyle
commentary, short films, web production diaries and original theatrical trailer
(in HD on the Blu-ray) on both formats, but the Blu-ray adds a teaser trailer,
Enhanced Viewing Mode with the makers of the film and Journey Into Sound allows you to play with the multi-channel mix
and what a great one to try this out with.†
This is one of the first major features to take advantage of the new
BD-Java capacity with the new Version 1.1 technology.† Many have touted that HD-DVD has had better
menus that Blu-ray, but that gap is closing quickly.
It is a
shame that this was not released and promoted more widely by Fox, but maybe
they were holding it hostage for Blu-ray.†
It is that good a film and especially in Blu-ray form, is going to be a
favorite film for real film lovers as more and more people discover and
experience what Boyle has pulled off here.†
In a time when the science is missing from Science Fiction, Sunshine
will go down as a minor classic of the genre we cannot recommend enough.
you are a very serious film fan, be sure to consult the August 2007 issue of American Cinematographer Magazine for
the specific details on how the film was shot.
-†† Nicholas Sheffo