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The story begins in the year 2057, as our Sun begins to die and mankind faces the unthinkable: extinction. Earth's last hope lies with the Icarus II, a spacecraft manned with eight men and women led by Captain Kaneda. Their mission -- to deliver a nuclear device designed to reignite the Sun. Deep into their voyage, far out of radio contact with Earth, the lonely, restless crew hears a distress beacon from the Icarus I, the ship which disappeared without a trace on the same mission seven years earlier.
A novel blend of doomsday thriller and meditative science fiction, Danny Boyle's Sunshine imagines a disturbing future in which mankind must re-ignite the sun or face total extinction. A team of scientists and crew members (played by an eclectic cast that includes Cillian Murphy from Boyle's 28 Days Later, The Fantastic Four's Chris Evans, Rose Byrne of TV's Damages, and martial-arts legend Michelle Yeoh) is dispatched to the dying star, but disaster strikes from almost every conceivable angle; as the crew is whittled down by accidents and psychological breaks, the survivors must discover a way to carry out the mission or seal the fate of the world's population. Alternately exciting and pensive, Sunshine's dichotomous tone may throw viewers expecting a special-effects bonanza (though the film's visuals are frequently stunning), but for those who recall such cerebral '70s efforts as Silent Running and Phase IV, Boyle's unusual take will be refreshing and even fascinating. The DVD includes commentaries by Boyle and Dr. Brian Cox, who served as the film's science advisor; Boyle also lends his voice to a brace of deleted scenes, including an alternate ending (which doesn't improve on the one used in the film). Thorough production diaries cover every aspect of the film's execution, from casting to special effects design, while a pair of unrelated short films by Chris Shepherd and Dan Arnold seems to be included only as a gesture of Boyle's appreciation for these directors. --Paul Gaita
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
1) Too much was left out. Normally I'm not a big fan of lots of exposition, but this movie *desperately* needed more for things to make sense. (What exactly was causing our sun to gutter out? A lump of exotic matter called a "Q-Ball" that was acting as an extremely potent control rod for the sun's nuclear furnace. Why was the bomb they were carrying enough to do the job? It was a Dark Matter fusion bomb for which the nuclear explosion was the *trigger*, meant specifically to break up the Q-Ball, which would quickly allow fusion to ramp back up to normal levels. There's far more, but I don't want to head into spoiler territory).
2) Giant plot holes, some of them (no pun intended) glaring in a movie that really tried to get its physics and realism right.
I'd still recommended the movie, but be aware of its downsides if you rent it. It's not the best sci-fi out there, but it's far, far from the worst, either.
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