Sunshine & r & & r & by BOB GRIMM & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & unshine is one of the best sci-fi films to come along in years, and it makes my personal Top 20 for the genre. Director Danny Boyle created a visually arresting and emotionally compelling film from writer Alex Garland's script.

The sun is dying, and a crew of plainclothes astronauts is on a long journey through space to reignite the star with a humongous bomb. Among the crew is scientist Robert Capa (Cillian Murphy), who helped create the bomb that could save mankind. Their ship is called Icarus II, the second attempt to reignite the sun after a previous mission vanished.

When orbiting Mercury, they hear a distress beacon from the prior mission and, after some heavy deliberating, decide to rendezvous with the ship, thinking that two bombs are better than one. A series of events jeopardizes their mission -- and the fate of the world.

Boyle is one of the great directorial genre hoppers. None of his films are alike, and this one is his best (a nice accomplishment, considering he made Trainspotting and 28 Days Later). The film came out last July and was surprisingly ignored -- one of last year's great cinematic shames. It was quite a treat on the big screen.

The movie goes a little nutty in its final act, but Boyle even handles that well, and the film loses none of its power. By the time Icarus II reaches the sun, it is evident that we've been witnessing a cinematic achievement in line with the best that Kubrick, Spielberg and Scott had to offer.

In the special features Boyle talks about his major influences during his commentary, including Ridley Scott's Alien and Kubrick's 2001. The deleted scenes are good and easily could be reinstated into the film. There are some Web production diaries and features special to Blu-Ray, including enhanced-viewing mode (for picture-in-picture TVs only). Most of the features are available in both the standard and Blu-Ray DVDs.

As far as Blu-Ray goes, this is a terrific-looking -- and sounding -- disc. The soundtrack, by Underworld, is one of last year's best, and the surround sound just pops.

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