Friday, July 5, 2013

Europa Report Movie Review (Mild Spoilers)

By Ken Parker

A mission to Jupiter's moon, Europa, as seen from the on-board cameras of the space craft might seem boring to some but not me.  I eagerly awaited to see this film and thankfully it is now available On-Demand right now!! So go watch it and then come back here....

Ok, your back – WOW, right?

Europa Report is a 'found footage' style movie and we all know that some of those types of the past are not without flaws.  Many times the producers force the idea that we are looking at found footage that they forget how to tell an engaging story.  Or they forget the restrictions of a found footage medium and do something that makes little sense.  This movie, for being a found footage type will be compared to Apollo 18 which is another space mission that we are seeing through found footage.  In the case of Apollo 18 there are mistakes and problems associated with the cameras and the footage that really interferes with the movie a bit and while not horrible, certainly could have been better.

Europa Report handles the found footage perfectly and even enables the producers of the film to tell the film out of order, giving the audience a tease look at first and then going back and forth over the time line of the mission.  As with most out of sequence films, this allows a build up of tension as we know something will happen soon based on what we have already seen.  This also sets up a twist moment when you think one thing and something else is actually going on, leading to some misleading emotion for the story (sorry, no spoilers).

The out of order reveal of the story works great and it is coupled with multiple cameras and sound that gives us everything we need to see but at times not enough to keep us on the edge of our seat.  There are clues in the footage and as a viewer you will be looking hard at various scenes in hopes of seeing what is going on during the mission.  The cameras do occasionally malfunction and lose power at moments when they are needed the most and this adds to the final tension of the mission.

The characters are professional and unlike most Hollywood films, we don't see these characters blossom into three dimensional studies in the human personality.  Instead we experience just a tease of the lighter side of the mission and how dedicated and professional these people are... until some things go wrong.

The look of the film is fantastic.  On a low budget, this film manages to deliver a well written script utilizing the found footage and out of sequence format while also providing one of the most realistic space movies in a while.  Comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey for realism have been made but I would look at Moon and Sunshine as more recent examples of this.  Speaking of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the movie Europa Report has major connections with Arthur C. Clarke's book sequels 2010 and especially 2061 so fans might see something there.

The film leads up to an ending that sees a justification of everything the crew had gone through and sums up the reason why astronauts risk their lives in space or why scientists sometimes put their own lives in danger for scientific knowledge. The pay off may not be a giant monolith with answers of the Universe nor a full blown action escape from an Europian army but it is perfect for this movie

This movie is slated for a theatrical release in a few cinemas in August but at this time a wider release schedule is unknown.  The On-Demand is still available as of July 5, 2013.  If you want a break from action and mindless adventure and want to see something that is more plausible and is real Hard Science Fiction then check out Europa Report.

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