Starring: Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Cillian Murphy, Hiroyuki Sanada, Mark Strong, Benedict Wong and Michelle Yeoh
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 27 August 2007

In the year 2057, the Sun is dying and mankind faces extinction. Earth's last hope lies with the Icarus II, a spacecraft with a crew of eight men and women led by Captain Kaneda. Their mission: to deliver a nuclear device designed to reignite our fading sun. Deep into their voyage, out of radio contact with Earth, the crew hear a distress beacon from the Icarus I, which disappeared on the same mission seven years earlier. A terrible accident throws their mission into jeopardy and soon the crew find themselves fighting not only for their lives and their sanity, but for the future of us all...

Sunshine is one of those films that, by rights, I should love. It's a British made sci-fi flick that, while made on a fairly low budget, has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood blockbuster. Unfortunately at no point does this film stray from the conventions set out by a 101 clichéd sci-fi movies that have gone before. A distress signal from a deserted space craft; a deadly threat that hunts the the crew down one by one; and crew members sacrificing themselves for the rest of the team are just three of the well worn plot threads that are used as crutches in this film.

Sunshine nicks all the decent ideas from Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey; and Solaris and still manages to deliver a lack lustre story that has the viewer not really caring whether they all die or not. Apart from Benedict Wong - I still love his performance as Errol in 15 Storeys High.

But what really annoyed me, more than anything else, was that I really should have loved the film. The script is tight and has some very moving scenes; the photography is beautiful; the special effects are impressive; the acting is faultless; and the director does a great job of putting everything together. It's just that I felt like I was watching a movie I'd already seen before. There were just too many scenes that reminded me of other film.

While I found chunks of the movie a little ambiguous I was pleased to see that both the actors and director where also unsure as to what was really going on. Without spoiling anything, one of the crew dies. Director Danny Boyle's audio commentary tells us they were murdered, while Dr Brian Cox's commentary followed my first thoughts - that the person committed suicide. While Boyle states that the murder was cleverly staged to look like a suicide, Cox, like myself, was left asking how the murderer would know his victim was on suicide watch. Cox also reveals that the cast themselves were divided on the subject too.

The extras are pretty impressive though. We kick off with two excellent audio commentaries - one by Boyle and another by Cox, who was the science consultant on the movie. I have to say that Cox's commentary is one of the best I've heard. He really goes into depth about the science behind the movie - while still keeping it simple enough that those without any real understanding of science can keep up with him. Although, he delivers probably the biggest downer to ever make its way onto a DVD commentary. Basically, without going into it too much, every living thing is ultimately doomed. With the universe expanding at an exponential rate, eventually there will come a time where there is no life at all anywhere in the Universe. Now that's a theory to keep the kids awake at night.

Other extras include Deleted Scenes (19 mins); Web Production Diaries (46 mins that are broken down into mini featurettes); two excellent short films; Theatrical Teaser and Theatrical Trailer.

While all the ingredients are there for a satisfying movie, at the end of the day I'm afraid I just didn't warm to this film.

Darren Rea

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