A ‘found footage’ type of film, Europa Report is a science fiction film first and foremost, with a small smattering of horror spread within. Of course, horror is always prevalent in a (mostly) realistic depiction of space travel, especially those in our early years of confronting the unknown qualities of space. The film is not a horror film, though. Make no mistake, it is tense and claustrophobic, but it is smart science fiction.
Directed by Sebastian Cordero, Europa Report is a thrilling account of the first private space expedition to Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. The film is a series of clips presented as the final document of the expedition, not always presented in order. What we get here is a competent found footage film about an international group of astronauts traveling farther in space than man ever has, looking for life on Jupiter’s moon.
Starring Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness), Sharlto Copely (District 9, Elysium), and Michael Nyqvist (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), the film is actually a very well done found footage film. While the style has certainly run its course, when it is done well, I can overlook the obvious low-budget aspect of the filming style. This is one of those films that I actually think benefits from the style.
While it is a more realistic account of the voyage, that also make the hour and a half film feel a lot longer than it is. Honestly, very little happens until the ship lands on Europa, and during that time we are never given a glimpse of the personalities of the characters. That is honestly my one complaint about the film. There is very little characterization involved. With the notable exception of Sharlto Copely’s character, we are never offered anything other than a perfunctory glimpse into their personal lives before this mission. I feel the film would have benefited greatly from caring about the characters and what they subsequently go through once they land on the moon.
There will inevitably be comparisons with last years Gravity, but other than the space setting, they couldn’t be farther apart in execution, style, and story.
This is a very well done, low budget science fiction film. As long as you can get through the opening half of the film, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised by this competent and compelling science fiction yarn. Sadly, due to the feeling of length I experienced, I cannot rate this higher. I would recommend seeing this, though, for all fans of science fiction.
**1/2 out of ****
BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!
- Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei.
- As of January 2009, Jupiter has 49 official, named moons and 14 more unofficial ones still under consideration.