Verdict: 4 / 5
Europa Report is a clever and effective take on the “found footage” genre films that have been popping up the last few years. It manages to effectively blend sci-fi, documentary and found footage film genres into a low-budget, yet good looking, film.
In Europa Report, scientists figure out that there are ice rivers on Jupiter’s 4th largest moon, and that could indicate that there is life on that moon, Europa. A private company, Europa Ventures, sends a team of astronauts to investigate the possibility of life on that moon. For six months the team of astronauts broadcast their daily lives on-board the spaceship, as if they’re part of a reality reality-show. Then all of a sudden, communication between the ship and earth gets cut off and almost 18 months later, communication resumes, if only for a short while…
Europa is clever in that we watch the film after all of this has transpired, as if we are watching a documentary of the events that took place. There are interviews with key personal from Europa Ventures and between that we are treated to excerpts from the astronauts’ journey to find life on Jupiter’s Moon. We see them throughout various stages of the journey. The excerpts don’t play out chronologically either. Initially it’s a bit confusing, but as time goes on the story unfolds nicely.
We find out that a freak accident caused the break in communication and that it leads to more than one tragic event. As more of the journey unfolds, we get more engrossed in the astronauts lives.
The effects aren’t flashy (and they aren’t supposed to be), and the whole film is shot doccie-style, with many static and GoPro type shots, but it all works effectively. The strong acting is what carries this film, and there is no shortage of talent, with our own Charlto Copley doing a sterling job as an engineer on the crew. Everyone pitches in and the strong cast carries this film brilliantly whenever the narrative wanders off the sensible path.
The film doesn’t try to be extremely accurate when it comes to science and physics, and does more of an exploratory job and asks a few “what if” questions.
Europa Report is an entertaining and crafty take on what has become an increasingly more irritating genre. It’s a breath of fresh space air.