DVD: Bringing ‘Sunshine’ Home
To me, the mark of a great commentary is that, at the end, you haven’t so much been privy to some banter between actors or technical people about who did what on what day during the making of the film, but that you come away feeling a number of things: Yes, of course one of those things should be ‘entertained’ and sure, some behind the scenes shenanigans is always nice too – but I always like to come away from watching/listening to a commentary track feeling like I’ve just been given the opportunity to pick the brain of a great film maker. And Director Danny Boyle’s commentary on the Sunshine DVD is just such a track.
For example; according to Boyle, great science fiction films — of the style that SUNSHINE fits perfectly into — are made up of three things: The Ship, the Crew and the Signal. It had never occurred to me until I heard Boyle deliver that break-down, during his one man commentary track, that the formula to some of cinema’s finest science-fiction offerings could be so neatly summarised. And yet, he’s right… and I’ll probably never look at Alien, 2001 or Solaris the same way again thanks to that comment from him.
One of the odd things about maintaining a site like EOL is that I become attached to some films, especially the ones that I’ve been following long before there was any hype about them. Sunshine is one of those: I first wrote about it just over 12 months ago.
In March of this year I attended a rather ill fated preview screening of the film and a Question/Answer session with Rose Byrne and Danny Boyle. At that screening the film was completely butchered by some extremely half-asses goings on in the projection room. But the film’s intensity managed to survive the spasmodic — and at times, reversed — delivery and, aided by Boyle’s openness and sense of humour during the Q&A, only served to wet my appetite for a complete, uninterrupted, showing… which I only had to wait a little over a month to get.
Fortunately the movie hadn’t been spoilt for me by the previous attempt to see it. If anything the fact that the film managed to suck me into it’s grip again the second time around stands a testament to intensity with which Alex Garland’s script has been bought to the screen.
There’s no doubt that Sunshine will be a movie that I revisit continuously in the future, in much the same way that I find myself gravitating back to Blade Runner every few months or so: So, not owning this DVD was out of the question. Boyle’s commentary, the two short films, deleted scenes, and the 2 dozen or so Web Diary videos only make it so much more worth while but honestly, there was also never any chance that I wasn’t going to love the DVD, so aside from the movie, they could have just put 20 minutes of static for all I cared.
The only downside to having the DVD, to having the movie in my hands now, is that it means that this will probably be the last time I get to make a post focused on Sunshine alone. I’m sure I’ll bring it up from time to time, however unless they announce a sequel (and seriously, you wouldn’t want to read THAT post) this is probably the end of the line in that respect.
The only thing left for you to do is go out and get the DVD too, so I don’t have to think any less of you.