in ,

On Blu-Ray, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine Still Glows

What if you woke up one morning and the sky was dark? You waited for the sun to rise but it never did, and you realized it was night forever…

That’s the plot of 2007’s sci-fi thriller Sunshine directed by Danny Boyle. It’s the year 2057 and the source of mankind’s light, the sun, is dying out. Due to this, humanity is facing certain death. To try and save all life as we know it, a crew of eight is dispatched in a ship the “Icarus II” to reignite the sun with a massive nuclear weapon. However, as the crew nears the sun, they encounter the Icarus I, the first ship to undertake the mission, drifting in space. As they investigate, the crew will be faced with a dark secret and horrors unleashed both on their bodies and minds.

Sunshine is full of “before they were famous” actors, such as Chris Evans, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michelle Yeoh, Benedict Wong, Cliff Curtis, Rose Byrne, and Mark Strong: all household names now, but who were not quite at the top yet when this film was released. The Blu-ray edition remains an excellent pick to pluck off the shelf for an evening’s worth of intense sci-fi thrills.

Two men look out a large window at a spaceship, the room glows as the sun shines into it bathing it in red, yellow and black

The Film

Danny Boyle’s Sunshine is a different kind of sci-fi, falling more into the camp of films such as Forbidden Planet, Sunshine is at once a thriller, horror, and operatic adventure. It is not heavy on action or scares but does have ambiance and mood in abundance. One thing I liked was how the film does not overdo it with the technology: the story is set a little over 30 years in the future (from the time of this writing) and while the tech is advanced, it does not feel like a huge leap to imagine that space travel may look like this in a few decades.

The film sticks very much to the “Madness in space” theme as we see the villain of the film is an insane member of the crew of the Icarus I. No aliens or gooey monsters are stalking the ship corridors, and for this I am grateful.

The acting is also good, and you feel you get to know the crew as we journey with them on this dangerous mission, Cillian Murphy is a stand-out as the main charcter. The writing is also good, being penned by Alex Garland of Devs, Ex Machina, and Annihilation fame, who has a way of bringing in the philosophical to his work and does so again with Sunshine.

A man stands and screams as he is surrounded by light and glowing orbs, his hair is blowing back and his mouth is wide open

Sunshine is brought to life on Blu-ray with a great 1080p transfer, framed at 2.35:1, the textures and details are very nice, especially when we get close-up shots of the actors and interiors. However, we do see some issues with some of the colors being muted and others being very intense. Some of this is likely due to the stylized nature of the movie, so I excuse it.

The audio work on this Blu-ray gets the job done and is perfectly adequate. That being said there are a few moments of audio inconsistency. However, these moments are few and far between and do nothing to bring the viewer out of the story and visuals.

Special Features

Audio Commentary: The Blu-ray has two different audio commentaries for the viewer to enjoy, one of them from director Danny Boyle, who goes into some of the film’s more technical aspects. He also dives into the film’s philosophy a bit and how the ending plays into that. The second track has the film’s technical advisor Dr. Brian Cox of the University of Manchester, who explores the technology of the film and even deconstructed it a bit. He brought an authoritative voice to the track and will be well-liked by those looking for a meaty breakdown of the movie.

Deleted Scenes: There are seven deleted scenes totaling 13 minutes presented in standard definition, much to my disappointment. There is a provided audio track by Danny Boyle which I appreciated, as it helped to bring some clarity to the scenes and how they fit into the overall plot of the film. That being said the scenes are presented in 480p so they will look very poor on modern TV’s from 2023.

Web Production Diaries: Remember how in the mid-2000s every studio and TV network was creating content for “The Web” we saw this with LOST, The Office, and 24. It came in the form of micro-narratives or behind-the-scenes footage. We get 38mins of content that covers some behind the scene footage, pre-production shots of the cast, and even a bit of Danny Boyle working on the film. Overall it’s not the best or necessary but if one wants to get more of the behind-the-scenes goings on, one will appreciate it. For me, it was nostalgic to see what used to be standard in the film world and is now a charming bit of content from a bygone time.

Short Films: Included are two short films, which Danny Boyle says have nothing to do with Sunshine, however, he decided to include them to give some attention to the filmmakers. The short films are pretty good and worth checking out.

Theatrical Trailer: Lastly, we get a nice crisp theatrical trailer for Sunshine in 1080p, it’s beautiful and lets the viewer see the trailer as it is meant to be seen. Once upon a time this trailer could only be seen on large theater screens but now we can see it in HD.

a man stands in a brown shirt and blue pants and watches as three people are splashed by water that is shooting over a handrail, tall trees are in the distance.


Overall Sunshine is a great science fiction film, that manages to combine elements from 2001 A Space Odyssey with Forbidden Planet and even some Alien. It’s a thinking man’s sci-fi that asks questions and delves into the popular themes of isolation and madness in the blackness of space. This Blu-ray is a bit expensive on Amazon, running $24.99 new and $13 used. I managed to pick up my copy at Goodwill for $5. That being said if you enjoy the work of Alex Garland and Danny Boyle, as well as sci-fi that is deeper than average, it’s worth the price to own it.

Written by Byron Lafayette

Byron Lafayette is a film critic and journalist. He is the current Chairman of the Independent Film Critics of America, as well as the Editor and Lead Film Critic for Viralhare and a Staff Writer for Film Obsessive. He also contributes to What Culture and many other publications. He considers Batman V Superman the best superhero film ever made and hopes one day that the genius of Josh Lucas will be recognized.

Leave a Reply

Film Obsessive welcomes your comments. All submissions are moderated. Replies including personal attacks, spam, and other offensive remarks will not be published. Email addresses will not be visible on published comments.

Clement, Linn and Sandra stand at the sacre coeur and look out over Paris

One Fine Morning: A Sensitive Study in Love

set decoration of film Spellbound

Seven Great Dream Sequences in Cinema