[Movie Review] Europa Report

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One of the better panels at San Diego Comic Con is the science fiction that will change your life panel. It’s a panel of authors and creators that talk about science fiction films/television/books that really stood out over the last year.

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Europa Report and Upstream Color was two movies that came up during the panel. Having seen Upstream Color (review forthcoming) already and enjoying the trailer of Europa Report I ordered it.

Europa? The same Jupiter Moon from 2010?

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Yep. The same moon. And the same outcome. Sorta.

I’m going to rattle off some movies regarding space travel: Red Planet. Event Horizon. Armageddon. Deep Impact. Mission to Mars. Sunshine. Alien. 2001. 2010. Moon. Europa Report.

I’ve left out anything with Star in it for a reason.

Europa Report like Moon and 2001/2010 takes itself seriously. The realistic look at space travel in our solar system. There is no inertial dampeners. No gravity generators. The rotating ring to create a gravity: yep. The time lag between Earth and the capsule: yep. The bulky spacesuits. The stations at different angles.

Europa Report is a found footage science fiction movie directed by Sebastián Cordero that details the space flight from Earth to Europa to gather evidence from the ice moon. The mission is manned by several smarter scientists than those found in Prometheus. The movie does what Danny Boyle’s Sunshine didn’t and gives us an enjoyable movie that is believable and while the time jumps can get a little annoying sometimes the movie as a whole works.

There are no aliens per se, no scheming beaucrats looking for the next big discovery. It a group of scientists on an expedition that goes from excitement to sullen to happy to doomed as one by one each of them are dispatched by what is on Europa.

Among the scientists, Sharlto Copley and Michael Nyqvist’s characters stood out the most since they have arcs and a bit more back story than the others. The rest of the scientists played by Anamaria Marinca, Christian Camargo, Karolina Wydra and Daniel Wu are there but nothing about their backstories and character’s occupation is revealed and that doesn’t make them exactly redshirts. But it’s damn close. I’m glad a romantic angle was shoved down our throats but on the other side of that if you’ve got four men and two women in the same confined place for two months? At least show wives and girlfriends.

There’s a part of me that wishes this had been framed like Mission to Mars, Sunshine or even Apollo 13. The found footage can only take you so far, the whole talking head to the camera has gotten stale.

If you’re tired of aliens blowing up cities then Europa Report will be a welcome breath of fresh air.

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