on June 9, 2008
I really enjoyed this film and enjoyed re-watching it with the commentary by Professor Brian Cox, the scientific consultant for the movie.
Those reviewers who are stating that the science is poor (or even "ridiculous") may not have listened to this commentary. There are some errors, which Cox points out, but the overall idea is not impossible, or even so farfetched as to be 'virtually impossible'.
Professor Cox is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in Particle Physics at the University of Manchester who also works on the ATLAS experiment at CERN in Geneva. In his commentary he mentions discussing with other scientists at CERN about the Q-ball hypotheses and relevance to sun-dying and restarting in the movie. (Incidentally, he seems to believe the existence these super-symetrical (or super-stable) objects will be proven (by CERN) within the next 10 years or so.) His problems with science in the movie tend to be some of the smaller issues (for example - the craft orbiting Mercury a few times, rather than just a 'sling-shot' use).
His statement on what the penultimate scene means to him (even if it only occurs in a 'billionth of a second', or in 'the mind') is wonderful, and really impressed upon me the beauty, wonder, and awe many scientists hold for the universe. I think some reviewers only saw this scene in a literal earth-based perception of time and were put-off by it. Again, it's not necessarily meant to be seen that way. (And as mentioned earlier, Professor Cox's comment on its magnificence is inspiring.)
Another criticism reviewers have mentioned was why so many unstable people were picked for these missions. Again, I think these reviewers may have missed something covered briefly in the film itself, and then more in depth in the commentaries. The people picked were stable and generally the very best in their field. Something with gravity, radiation, or another undefined characteristic of the sun caused mental problems . . . this was the reason the second mission included a psychologist, and the reason he was experimenting with the impact of sunlight exposure. I also think the writer was using individuals to highlight various aspects of human nature, but that might just be me.
All that being said, this is not a Star Wars type of film. If that is what you are looking for, you may well be disappointed. On the other hand, it is a bit less obscure in meaning and plot than films like Solaris, and maybe even a bit easier to grasp on the first viewing than 2001, and, for me at least, imparted much of the wonder and awe that those films did.
To anyone choosing to see this film on DVD, I'd recommend watching it, and then watching it again (or at the very least, the last five minutes of it) with Cox's commentary. In my opinion his comments make a really enjoyable film even better.
on December 26, 2007
Most underrated film of 2007. And potentially the best Blu-ray disc of 2008.
Ground breaking director Danny Boyle has done it again with sci-fi action-adventure film "Sunshine." It is something you have never seen before. The film takes place in 2057. The sun is dying and mankind faces extinction. The Earth's last hope lies in the hands of the crew on Icarus II. Attempting to fly to the sun and launch a massive nuclear weapon into it to ignite the fading star. Out of the radio contact with Earth, the mission begins to unravel and they find themselves fighting for their lives and the future of us all.
Fans of other Danny Boyle's films will not be disappointed. His fantastic films include; 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Transpotting, The Beach and Shallow Grave. The films delivers in every aspect. Unfortunately, the advertising campaign wasn't very strong for this round of Danny Boyle's film. And "Sunshine" only played in about 4000 screens. I luckily, found this on playing in a theatre near me when it was released in July 2007 and fell in love with it.
Overall "Sunshine" was a great, great, sci-fi film that would be shown to anyone who enjoys a good movie. I wish the advertising campaign would have been better because this is one film that should not be missed.
Film itself: *****
"Sunshine" uses a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 which is a great choice for the Fox Classic. This film has great visuals, mainly scenes in outer space. Without giving too much away, the last 20 minutes of the film are amazingly done and the visuals should be nominated for an Academy Award. The transfer to Blu-ray is very well done. When I saw it in the theatre, I was worried about some of the segments of the film because they are darker and could cause the screen to be grainy. But Fox pulled through and did a great job in transferring all the great visuals that I saw in July onto my HD TV at home.
"Sunshine" uses English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround (48kHz/24-bit) audio format. It is an excellent choice and again, Fox pulled through. The audio on this film alone is Oscar worthy. The films soundtrack, soon to be released, is done by John Murphy in an amazing way. Each scene in this film is memorable with the help to John Murphy's soundtrack (OST). The Blu-ray transfer is great. The disc also features French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound which are a little disappointing but didn't affect the overall outcome of the disc. I would have liked to see the same DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 in the French and Spanish languages. But overall, the audio delivers past my expectations and I still plan on purchasing the "Sunshine" OST when it is released.
"Sunshine" features a new Profile, called Profile 1.1 which is newly released in 2008. The Profile 1.1 allows you to view the film in PiP. The smaller screen being the director commentaries and the main screen being the actual movie. The PiP option allows you to switch back and forth between the screens without pausing the movie. Fortunately, Sony updated their PlayStation 3 to enable this option a few weeks ago. It works beyond imaginable and I really think that this will leave HD-DVD in the dust.
The Blu-ray disc also features an Audio commentary with the Director Danny Boyle which is above par. 21 Video Diaries, all with the Director Introduction. 12 Deleted Scenes and an alternate ending. Two short films: "Dad's Dead," and "Mole Hills" which are mediocre. And the theatrical trailer.
The High Definition Exclusive content on this disc are probably the best I have seen on a Blu-ray disc yet. The "Enhanced Viewing Mode" which in the picture-in-picture video commentary are well worth the Blu-ray disc purchase alone (Profile 1.1). It also features a "Surround Sound Mixer" which you can take audio from the movie and listen to it by itself, or take your favorite parts and put them together. A subtitle trivia track, which is loaded will tons and tons of information about the movie, production, and actors. And a search content index. These are probably the best HD and extra conent features that I have seen on a Blu-ray disc and are well worth the price.
"Sunshine" is my favorite movie of 2007 and could possibly be the best Blu-ray Disc of 2007/2008. I can't believe all the High Definition content on this disc and it is well worth the price. Profile 1.1, also known as "Enhanced Viewing Mode" is a great addition to Blu-ray disc and I believe this is what will bring Blu-ray out in the end (also the fact that blu-ray has Disney). I would highly recommend this Blu-ray disc to ANYONE who ones a Blu-ray disc player. A must buy. If I could rate this any higher I would.
Most underrated film of 2007. And potentially the best Blu-ray disc of 2008.
on June 8, 2012
Great science fiction (at least in my humble opinion) should include at least somewhat plausible science, but should so provide the audience something more, something emotional. This film's premise is mind-bending, and fascinating from a science perspective, but it is its commentary on the human spirit and philosophy that makes it truly remarkable. Without giving away too much, I will say that this movie was absolutely beautiful, lyrical, poignant, and ultimately uplifting, and touched me in a way I havent' been touched by a film in a long time.
As per the film's brief description, the main plot revolves around our sun dying, and a group of astronauts are strapped to the back of a stellar bomb in an attempt to "re-ignite the sun", "create a star within a star". This film was not made with a huge budget, yet the filmmakers use their money very jucidiously, and were able to present some beautiful special effects shots that contributed greatly to telling the story, not just to look pretty. Watching this film you immediately understand how deadly the sun's heat is, and how crucial it is for everyone (and everything vulnerable) to stay in the shadow of the solar shield built at the head of the spacecraft. I appreciated how elegantly and clearly all these concepts were conveyed to the audience so that you can understand exactly what is going on, and feel the very real tension of the story.
Stylistically this film is a true work of beauty and art. The design of the film was superb and striking. I loved the use of gold and black throughout the film, especially the look of the spacesuits and the Icarus spacecraft itself. The music was also particularly well-done and haunting. All-in all I just felt like the film was very polished, well-put together, and did not feel like a low-budget sundance movie at all, yet it had the sophistication and depth of an arthouse movie. There was obviously a great amount of care, effort, and talent applied to the look/feel/sound of this film, and the outcome is gorgeous.
The acting is understated but superb by all involved, especially Rose Byrn, Chris Evanson, and Cillian Murphy. The desparation and growing tension of the crew is palpable. The audience feels like we are right there with them, aboard Icarus 2, hurtling towards both death and salvation. There is a great subtext of science vs. religion, faith vs. delusion, and hope vs. despair interwoven into the film. The twist in the 2nd act was terrifying. The ending was sublime and metaphysical. All in all, a great time was had watching this film. I finished watching "Sunshine" feeling...complete. There are lines in the film that haunt me and will stay with me. I don't have anything bad to say about this very underrated film. Definitely one of my favourites of all time, and one of the best science fiction movies of all time.
on February 10, 2008
I posted a response to the one and only review of this film. Well, that wasn't good enough, because I left this movie so captivated by it that I was recommending it to friends right and left. To see the first review be so negative, so ethnocentric, so religiously stymied was difficult for me. So here you are, looking at a review written just because I disagree.
How American of me.
The acting was subtle and well balanced, unaffected and natural. The director seemed to understand where to put things, as directing goes, and he worked his cast very well, using the script and the players to a serious advantage so that they all produced an artistic work.
As to the story - this seems to have been written by someone who loves to study people as much as any anthropology major, and who sees the complexity in the enormous spectrum of human nature. We're all the same, but we're really not. That's the fun of Us, and that's the beauty of this film. There are some difficult moments, and if I find a fault here, it's that too much was edited out. The little tiny clues that would help the viewer to fully understand (read: not too much guessing) is only available as an extra on the DVD, and probably won't be found on the unbox version, since they don't sell anything but the movie itself. It's a pity. This film is enriched by the extras on the DVD and should be seen to fully appreciate the film (although not strictly necessary).
So please, take a chance and see this movie. If you're adventurous you'll see a great adventure and won't be disappointed, all the way to the end and further.
on December 30, 2012
This movie was strange. There were parts that were really beautiful. It was well acted and I enjoyed the characters. The first three-quarters of the movie were interesting, psychological, quiet. Of course, you expect that something is going to go terribly wrong at some point, but I really didn't expect it to turn into a horror movie at the end. It just didn't make sense to me. If you're a sci-fi fan and not a horror fan, then the end will not please you. Personally, I think it would've been a five-star movie without the strange twist. I would have preferred not to watch a crazy guy running around trying to kill everyone while his skin peeled off, shot in a headache-inducing, blurry, shaky-cam style. We could've gotten to the same ending in the movie without that, since plenty had already started to go wrong before the crazy man was introduced.
Sunshine could have been a fabulous Sci-fi. It had it all; the wonderful acting, the gorgeous special effects, and a great plot idea. And the film sticks to that formula for the first 2/3 of the film. I will not go into spoilers, but after a certain point, it becomes very weird and confusing. Not technically confusing, just frustratingly pointless. It makes you question why and how and doesn't give you any answers whatsoever. At that point, it seems very predictable what will happen. It gets pretty cliche very quickly. It just seems odd that it strays so much from being a science fiction, to being a murderous game of hide and seek. I was hoping for something different and it didn't happen. Its almost like the Director was thinking about how to end it, but couldn't figure it out, so he went the opposite predictable way. Which is too bad because the first half of Sunshine was pretty great.
on March 11, 2011
I was lead to believe that this movie was basically Event Horizon without the silly third act; that is, a creepy supernatural thriller in space. That is NOT the case - without spoiling anything, let me warn you that the boogieman here is entirely human. For me, that was a big letdown.
The first half is quite impressive - the idea of a ship approaching the sun from behind a huge mirror-shield is neat, and they make everything seem pretty plausible (well, except that they're going to reignite the sun with a fission bomb - that's just silly). Then they discover their sister ship was not destroyed, but has been in orbit around the sun for 7 years, and it all kinda goes downhill from there.
Don't get me wrong - the story is still engaging enough that I want to see how it ends, but it seems like it loses focus and direction, like it can't decide whether it wants to be happy or sad or what. Ridiculous plot holes appear, people contract fatal cases of writer-convenience, and it winds up as one big disappointment. This could have been a good spook show and a decent adventure movie, but it makes poor use of what it has and thus falls short.
Maybe it would be better if you don't go into it expecting either intelligent sci-fi OR spooky horror; I couldn't say. I'm gonna go watch some Event Horizon now to get the taste out of my mouth.
on March 14, 2010
So, (spoiler alert) the sun is going out and the people on the spaceship are going to restart it and save the earth. They have a lot of challenges to overcome like in any movie, and then they overcome them. But here's the thing about the movie that you won't believe: no one ever looks really serious and says "It's daylight saving time."
Not one character. No one says "It's daylight saving time." In the entire movie. I know you don't think it's possible, but if you watch it you'll feel like you wasted 4 hours of your life (time moves slower when you're waiting for someone to deliver an amazing line). What were the writers thinking!?
on June 16, 2008
this is not a great movie.
there is no character development and the plot really goes sour near the end. it schizophrenically changes from basic science fiction to a pseudo-spiritual horror flick with a chaser of philosophy. it's all very try hard : like the director wanted to make two movies.... striving for Stanley Kubrick and John Carpenter at the same time. pretty tall order.
HOWEVER, there is one overwhelmingly successful aspect to this film.
have you ever stood on a high cliff (or anywhere high and scenic) and felt the irresistible urge to jump off and fly away ? in the back of your mind you know, of course, what will happen to you...but...there is that CALLING.
this film captures that feeling perfectly. the visuals of the sun and its glorious power are astoundingly attractive and that feeling comes through the characters over and over.
i have often stood, simply humbled by the idea that you cannot look directly at it even when you are 93 million miles away. if you are a stargazer, daydreamer, or just a person like me who is amazed at the universe around you.....you'll like this one.
mind you, this is not a religious or spiritual film. in fact, science is equated to rationality and it wins out over mysticism here. and while i do not profess to know if THAT is true, it is easy for me to see why our ancestors worshipped the sun. they were right. the sun, like each one of us, was born and it will die. however, unlike our world, where everything alive is interdependent, the sun is not. we depend upon it completely but it does not need us.
the message of this film is that you are not really in control....
and sunshine is greater than we are.
on January 31, 2014
Fun concept. The sun is burning out but amidst all the nuclear fusion still taking place, it will only take the biggest nuclear bomb little ole earth can generate to get 'er going once again. Never mind that the most humongous explosion humanity could muster would amount to a teeny puff in an object the size of our nearest star. A million earths would fit inside the sun . . . neatly. More than 1000 earths would fit into Jupiter. You would be crushed under your own weight if you were on a planet the size of Jupiter because it's size means it's gravity is many times that of earth's. Now imagine your weight on an object the size of the sun. So scientifically, unbearable heat is just one problem of flying into the sun. The astronauts and their payload would be flat as a pancake before entering a sunspot. Not to mention fried to a crackly crunch.
Needless to say, the endings of these kinds of movies are never realistic. They end up reflecting our overpowering desire for immortality and usually venture off the road of reality and into some facet of religion. The masses approve and the movie is over.
I won't tell you how this one ends. Maybe it's unique. Maybe not. See for yourself. But I did enjoy it and I've added it to my collection.