Blu-ray
Rent it
2.5 stars
Overall Grade
2.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
2.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
3.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
0.5 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Rent it

Exploding Sun

Street Date:
October 15th, 2013
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
December 4th, 2013
Movie Release Year:
2013
Studio:
Sonar Entertainment
Length:
176 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

There seems to be no end in sight for the Doomsday Series of films that all involve certain death on Earth by a menacing sun, solar flares, earthquakes, or any other sort of natural disaster. However, with these Doomsday Series movies, they seem to be a bit better than the original SyFy films that are released. While these certain disaster flicks don't have the $100 million dollar budgets, nor the A-List or even the B-List star power really to garner a huge audience, these little films actually fair quite well if you're not expecting too much.

Like it matters, but this time around, a tiny passenger space aircraft is the main cause of Earth's destruction. A scientist and has developed a civilian aircraft to travel to the moon and back to Earth. Instead of the many days it would take to do this, this scientist has developed a new piece of technology called a Scalar Drive, which would allow the aircraft to make the roundtrip in a several hours. Some lucky, or shall I say unlucky people are picked to test drive this spaceship along with the First Lady.

And what would a 176 minute movie be without something going wrong? After being told everything is safe, we come to see that nothing is ever safe, a malfunction occurs, and a solar storm whirls up and blows the spaceship off its path in a direct motion towards the sun. After a bunch of freak-outs and talking, everyone realizes that this new Scalar Drive can withstand a bunch of heat and if impacted with the sun, can cause it to pretty much explode, which if you took any science classes, you know is a bummer for us on Earth.

Well the worst happens and the Scalar Drive hits the bullseye in the sun's favorite hot-spot, causing eruptions and massive solar flares that impact Earth. Us humans, animals and every other living thing move into survival mode as we try to survive the devastation that the sun is causing. The film, like most of the other Doomsday Series is split into two parts as it was made for television. The first part is the set up and the devastation, where the second half relies on the survivors of Earth trying not to die while others are trying to find a solution to the problem.

Again, like most of these low budget projects, 'Exploding Sun' basically takes a bunch of scenes from other movies that have done it better. If you've seen Armageddon , 'Deep Impact', the TV series 'Jericho', and the actual sun, then you have seen this movie. There are similar setups, shots, and even dialogue. Who said that there needs to be a shot of a group of people walking to an aircraft or car in slow-motion in every type of film like this? If you were wanting to see that type of camerawork here, then you'll be happy.

The guy from 'JAG', and the woman from a few movies with Brad Pitt lend their talents to this movie, and surprisingly do a good job. Like I said above, these films are a bit better than the usual schlock that is turned out by other studios here. The effects are decent too, with some engaging story lines, although you might have seen them time and again already. Whether it be government agents out on the prowl, a White House that is under crisis mode, a love triangle, or a death in the family, it all seems to play out fairly well here.

If epic disaster flicks are your thing and you have more than three hours to spare, then you might enjoy 'Exploding Sun', because despite its cliches and cheesiness, it actually turns in a somewhat solid and entertaining viewing experience.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Exploding Sun' comes with a decent 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The detail is mostly fairly sharp with some well defined closeups of the actors. Their individual facial hairs, and some of the stitching in the costumes stand out nicely. However in some of the heavier effects scenes and some of the wider shots, things go a bit soft, which is typical of these lower budget films. However, the scenes in the White House, look very good.

The colors don't seem to be well balanced or very saturated with rich color. The whole color image seems pale and vague here. Skin tones seem a little off too. Black levels often run deep and inky, but are occasionally a little light for my liking. This is a decent presentation, given the low budget this film had, but it still has some minor issues with motion blur. Other wise there are no other issues I detected.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and sounds good. Again, with these low budget releases, the video and audio aren't quite top notch, but they get the job done nicely. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. It's a well balanced audio track that is never overly loud and free of pops, cracks, and hissing.

The sound effects come through the surrounds strongly, especially in the second half. There is a decent amount of bass, but not quite the amount that should accompany a disaster flick like this. The score always amps up the suspense and emotion and never drowns out any of the dialogue. For the most part, this is a fun audio track, but it could have been better, considering the scope of the story.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Cast Interviews (HD, 16 mins) - Here are some interviews with some of the cast on the making of the film as they talk about the story, their characters, and what it was like on set. There are text questions followed by video answers.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives.

Final Thoughts

'Exploding Sun' is the latest in the Doomsday Series of movies to all remind us that Earth is always doomed by some other form or fashion. The film itself is entertaining, but is also very cliched, cheesy, and steals from every other better movie before it. The video and audio are good quality with a below average sole extra. If you want to own every disaster flick, then by all means pick this up, otherwise, rent it.

Technical Specs

  • 50GB Blu-ray Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • "1080p"/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English

Supplements

  • Cast Interviews

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