has an average rating of 7.3 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
DTS HD 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1
include V1.1 Picture-in-Picture
– 107 minutes
Buy it for $27.95 @ Amazon.com
The Movie Itself is Directed by British “visionary” Danny Boyle who brought you such previous successful films as “28 Days Later” , “The Beach” and “Trainspotting” just to name a few. The man who insisted his horror film “28 Days Later” wasn’t a “Zombie” movie is now trying the Science Fiction genre with “Sunshine.” The film’s plot is very simple (yet extremely complex), the year is 2057 and the sun, our most precious star in the solar system, is dying. It’s the task of the courageous crew of “Icarus II” which includes eight men and women of both astronaut and scientific background to set on a voyage carrying a payload of massive nuclear weapons to detonate and in turn reignite the sun. Things are pretty well planned but don’t go according to plans early off into the film. Things start going wrong and the crew members start to lose hope in accomplishing their mission.
The crew is made up of first our main character “Robert Capa” (Cillian Murphy), “Dr. Searle” (Cliff Curtis), “Corozon” (Michelle Yeoh), “Cassie” (Rose Bryne), “Capt. Kaneda” (Hiroyuki Sanada), “Trey” (Benedict Wong), “Mace” (Chris Evans) and “Harvey” (Troy Garity). This film obviously shares some slight similarities in ways to Stanley Kubrick‘s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and even a bit with the sequel to that film “2010: The Year We Make Contact” but doesn’t really rip off either of those films. It pays homage obviously to the Kubrick film but in no way is Director Danny Boyle‘s equivalent of Kubrick‘s “2001.” It is a pretty enjoyable science fiction film that makes you think and has a pretty decent plot / story to it so it is definitely worth giving a watch if you’re a fan of Boyle and/or science fiction. I will admit it wasn’t quite what I expected near the last hour or so of the film but that goes to show you what movie trailers really tell you about a film.
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte Dual-Layered Blu-ray Disc). It appears from my research on IMDb that this was shot on 35mm but it translates pretty nicely into a High Definition transfer. Director Danny Boyle isn’t exactly the most complex when it comes to what type of cameras he shoots his films on. Take his hit “28 Days Later” for example, that film was shot on MiniDV and honestly didn’t translate over too well to High Def in it’s transfer but that’s beside the point, I’m just using this for reference. This on the other hand comes across quite nicely I must say.
The film takes place in outer space so a solid black level is very critical here and you’ll definitely find just that in this presentation. The fleshtones are fine and the color palette really seems to shine through vibrant at times. I say that because as I just mentioned earlier most of the film takes place in the dull drab darkness of space. There are some really beautiful visuals in the film that look great in High Def like the space suits, the sun and even at times the interiors to the ship(s). This is a pretty sight to behold but it does suffer from a few small problems. Artifacts and film noise at times can offer some annoyances visually here, I found. There is a slight hint of film grain present obviously but that’s not what I disliked. It’s mainly the darker scenes that suffer from these problems I mentioned before.
In closing, there’s nothing enough to really complain about too much but enough for me not to give it a “100% flawless” rating. Because of these minor flaws I give this transfer a “4 ½ Star Rating.” That’s nothing to frown upon, just a fair rating. This does really pull off a pretty nice visual presentation here.
Audio Quality on this release is in DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio @1.5Mbps and Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps. It’s really funny I think that most science fiction films that are set in outer space usually have amazing 5.1 surround tracks when it actuality there’s no sound in space. But still it’d be kind of boring for those big action scenes outside ships if they didn’t kind of cheat there to “Hollywood” things up. Anyway, with that being said you can probably guess I’m going to offer some major praise to this DTS HD 5.1 mix. Well, I am going to do just that indeed.
This literally first off shook my room, it had amazing LFE presence with my sub throughout the entire film especially scenes where the sun was burning through with it’s presence. Second, it even brought out the wood smell in my speakers, it rocked my system so hard. This really does have amazing rear channel presence, perfectly mixed dialogue. The music from the band Underworld and the film’s Score both come across beautifully especially in climatic scenes of the film as well as Cillian Murphy‘s brilliant dialogue. I’m glad FOX did decide to “dumb it down” and include a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track as well on this release. This easily earns itself a “5 Star Rating.” This is for first off the amazing amount of surround presence and the second off the fact they decided to even include a Dolby Digital 5.1 track as well. Some of you may argue I’m insane for giving this a rating that high for the audio quality but I’ll stick by it.
Bonus Materials are all except otherwise noted presented in Standard Definition 16:9 (Widescreen) AVC video and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.
- “A Brilliant Vision: Enhanced Viewing Mode with the Filmmakers of Sunshine” is FOX‘s first effort at a V1.1 (a.k.a. “Full Standard Profile“) Blu-ray Disc title with true Picture-in-Picture capabilities. For those of you not on V1.1 compliant players you will be happy to know you can view these separately from the menu and they only a 17 MINUTE runtime. That’s really short considering these are what runs as the “PIP” experience here in a 107 MINUTE film. This leaves you with absolutely tons of “dead air” in the presentation so-to-speak. I’m very disappointed here by this but I will admit they did a good job with the framing and animations for the presentation of the “PIP” windows what few times they actually pop up.
- “Journey Into Sound: Surround Sound Enhancement” is another V1.1 (ONLY in fact) feature that allows you to watch scenes from the film and mix the dialogue around the 5 channels in a 5.1 mix. This is really simple to be honest with you and just uses the voices of characters in the film like the on board computer “Icarus” for example. I wasn’t too impressed by this V1.1 feature either. The four scenes you can do this on are as follows:
- “Searle in Observation Room” (2 minutes)
- “Capa Speaks with Incarus” (49 seconds)
- “Capa Discovers Pinbacker” (3 minutes)
- “Capa Battles Pinbacker” (1 minute)
- “Dad’s Dead” (7 minutes) – Directed by Chris Shepard
- “Mole Hills” (7 minutes) – Directed by Dan Arnold
In closing, I have to say I’m really not impressed by FOX‘s first V1.1 “Picture-in-Picture” effort. Yes it is as they claim, their “most technologically advanced Blu-ray Disc release” to-date, but it’s still nothing that amazing in the terms of using these capabilities. I’ve yet to honestly be impressed by any V1.1 release in fairness to FOX so I guess you should keep that in mind. The bonus materials are definitely worth watching to fans of the film regardless of the new technology but still really lack some “making of” elements.
— Review written by Justin Sluss