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