(Fox, 2007) D: Danny Boyle, w/ Chris Evans, Cillian Murphy. Rating: NNNNN; DVD package: NNNNN
Along with compelling drama and special-effects thrills, the best science fiction – think Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – conveys a sense of awe and wonder at both human achievement and the universe that lies beyond.
Sunshine does that on the strength of a powerful, simple story delivered through a tight, plausible script, effective acting and sharp direction that makes good use of the widescreen format for intimate close-ups and cosmic vistas.
Eight astronauts are on a voyage to drop a bomb into our dying sun in the hope of re-igniting it. It’s a long mission, and the threat of the travellers going mad is real.
The acting looks simple, just professionals doing their job, and Cillian Murphy is so loaded with ethereal, youthful beauty that it’s hard to see him as a physicist, but check out science adviser Brian Cox in the making-of doc, who’s also incredibly young and boyish. He’s a treat on his commentary track, covering the accuracy of the film’s science and portrayal of high-level scientists and giving his own take on the mysteries of the climactic confrontation between humanity and nature.
Director Danny (Trainspotting) Boyle’s commentary is just as lively. Along with the usual production stories, he offers an interesting take on science fiction in movies.
EXTRAS Director commentary, science adviser commentary, 21-part making-of doc, two short films. Widescreen. English, French, Spanish audio. English, Spanish subtitles.