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Rating: R

Cillian Murphy as Capa
Rose Byrne as Cassie
Chris Evans as Mace
Cliff Curtis as Searle
Chipo Chung as Icarus
Troy Garity as Harvey
Hiroyuki Sanada as Kaneda
Mark Strong as Pinbacker
Benedict Wong as Trey
Michelle Yeoh as Corazon
Paloma Baeza as Capa’s Sister
Archie Macdonald as Capa’s Nephew
Sylvia Macdonald as Capa’s Niece

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary by Danny Boyle
Alternate Ending
Web Production Diaries
Two Short Films with Intro by Danny Boyle
Audio Commentary by Director Danny Boyle
Audio Commentary by Dr. Brian Cox, University of Manchester

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 107 Minutes

The following is from the DVD cover:

“If it dies, so do we.

You’ve never seen anything like ‘Sunshine,’ the stunningly original sci-fi action-adventure from groundbreaking director Danny Boyle (’28 Days Later’). It is the year 2057, the sun is dying and mankind faces extinction. Earth’s last hope rests with a courageous crew of eight men and women on a mission to ignite the fading star with a massive nuclear weapon. Deep into their voyage, out of radio contact with Earth, their mission begins to unravel and they find themselves fighting not only for their lives, but for the future of us all. With twists and turns you won’t see coming, this pulse-pounding journey to the sun is a nonstop thrill ride.”

“Sunshine” is rated R for violent content and language.

The Movie:
I’ve really enjoyed Danny Boyle’s other work in “28 Days Later,” “Millions,” “Trainspotting,” and more. Each time he’s tackled a different film genre and his latest effort is no different. I was curious to see what he’s do in the realm of sci-fi with “Sunshine.” Movies set in space seem to fall within four categories. There are the space operas like “Star Wars.” There are the space horror films like “Alien.” There are the space comedies like “Spaceballs.” Then there are the space psychological dramas like “2001: A Space Odyssey.” “Sunshine” definitely falls within the final category. Unfortunately this is my least favorite of these categories.

“Sunshine” starts out straightforward enough. A crew of astronauts is on a mission to the sun to restart the dying star. We are introduced to each of the characters and learn about their motivations for being on the mission. As the ship is diverted to check out a distress signal from their long lost predecessor, things start to spiral out of control. They face technical problems, conflicts with the crew, and other challenges. This is when people start dying off one by one. This leads to the final third of the movie which gets progressively weirder and more surreal (as space psychological dramas typically do) and borders on horror. I can’t get into details without ruining the movie, but the big climax was a bit too trippy for my sci-fi tastes. It ends up making “Sunshine” a film more for the art house crowd and fans of hard sci-fi. It’s not a movie for general audiences.

On the bright side (no pun intended), I absolutely love the cast of this movie. I like Rose Byrne, Cillian Murphy, and Michelle Yeoh. Chris Evans was also one of the few things praised about “Fantastic Four” and he’s a strong part of the cast in “Sunshine.” Like in “28 Days Later,” Murphy is a great ‘everyman’ who is stuck in an extraordinary disaster and must rise to the occasion. Byrne is a great ‘everywoman’ reacting to the chaos around her as she’s about the only character to retain her humanity and soul. Evans does a fantastic job capturing the man on a mission persona. Despite his sometimes brutal decisions, he truly has the best interests of the human race at heart. It’s interesting to find yourself saying, “Despite the horror of what he just said or did, it’s probably the right decision under the circumstances.”

“Sunshine” is also a beautiful movie. The spacecraft scenes are impressive (though it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s going on in the dark). The ship is unique and the shots of the sun are impressive. The ship interiors are also realistic looking and display technology you might expect to see in the near future.

One of my big problems with this movie was how easily everything in the spaceship broke apart. That thing must have been one of the most poorly engineered spacecrafts since the Millennium Falcon. Computers couldn’t be overridden, oxygen was easily lost, etc etc etc. It didn’t come across as particularly realistic. But I suppose they needed stuff to break in order to create conflict and actually have a story, so it can be forgiven. But turn off your over-analytical mind when watching “Sunshine.”

The Extras:
On first glance it doesn’t look like there are many bonus features. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find they cover just about every aspect of the making of the film that you might be looking for. You’ll find two audio commentaries – one with director Danny Boyle and another with a scientist. There are also 11 deleted scenes. Some are substantial in that they have more special effects and they explain some of the events a bit more clearly. However, the alternate ending is almost not worth mentioning. It’s just a shorter version of the one seen in the film.

Much of the content is in the Web Production Diaries. They show interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, and other goodies. They cover the science of the sun, pre-visualization, the cast, and other items.

Rounding out the bonus features are two Short Films introduced by Danny Boyle – “Dad’s Dead” and “Mole Hills.” Neither is related to “Sunshine.” They’re just here for the heck of it.

The Bottom Line:
“Sunshine” is worth checking out if you’re a fan of Danny Boyle or hard sci-fi. If you enjoyed “2001” or “The Fountain,” you’ll probably be into this.