Europa Report (2013) Poster

(2013)

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7/10
Better than the other reviews would let on
johnathan smith30 June 2013
I liked this movie. It was a good sci-fi flick, but based in a believable near-future world. The voyage is captured by stationary cameras throughout the ship and a story is patched together from them. The acting was very good. There admittedly wasn't much in the way of character development, but I didn't notice it. The whole film I was hoping the story would move forward faster and faster to the end, to find out what, if anything, was discovered, and the fate of the crew.

Mostly what I liked about it was that it wasn't over-the-top storytelling, nor was it over-the-top with special effects. It used them only to tell the story that needed to be told and weren't overused. One reviewer chastised the special effects as being poor, but I disagree. They were believable. Bad is the crap they make for the Science Fiction Channel.

This movie may not appeal to everyone precisely because it's not over-the-top. It was simple, with building tension throughout the film and a good ending. There weren't monsters and aliens everywhere, there was a distinct Hitchcocian feel to it.

Very good; well worth watching.
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8/10
Strong little indie sci-fi you should see
Far-Sky29 June 2013
Europa Report is one of those low-budget sci-fi films that crops up occasionally and starts making the rounds on genre websites (my own first blush with the film was on io9.com) to create a buzz. Since Hollywood has depressingly sworn off any films that aren't megabudget tentpoles with an already-established audience anticipation index (read: sequels, remakes, or pre-existing properties), low-budget genre films are a rarity at best.

In the film, six astronauts embark on a mission of discovery, planning to land on (as one would expect) Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, after recent discoveries showed a possibility of microbial life underneath its icy oceans. What we see is the recorded video from their ship's cameras (yes, it's a found footage film) that tell the story of their ill-fated voyage.

It's a simplistic premise, and director Sebastián Cordero seems to be a bit unsure of himself at the outset. The film refuses to follow a linear narrative; even before the main title appears, we join the crew many months into their trip, and are given the knowledge that there's obviously been an incident onboard already, one that's robbed the journey of one of their intrepid space explorers.

Two things worried me at the outset of the film: one: the much-ballyhooed attention to detail (the filmmakers even brought on NASA to make sure the film was meticulously designed and scientifically accurate) and two: that constantly-shifting timeline of the film. The first point was worrisome because most films that lean so heavily on their technical accuracy forget to be dramatically compelling, and the second (similarly) because an over-reliance on storytelling gimmicks often betrays a weak story.

Happily, neither caused the film to fail: the attention to detail enhanced rather than detracted, and while the unnecessary nonlinearity of the storytelling didn't go away until the end, it did finally calm down enough for the audience to orient themselves. Given that I know now how the story unfolds, I can say that it would have actually been more dramatically compelling for the audience if the film had just told itself in a more straightforward manner, but ultimately it works fine (if weaker than it could have).

The bare-bones plot is aided by some smart writing that refuses to dip into easy characterizations and instead defines its astronauts by their mission, rather than clichéd, singular personality traits. While refreshing to see, it does leave some of the characters as relative cyphers, but strong performances all around (including District 9's Sharlto Copley and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Michael Nyqvist) get the film over that slight bump.

What's most gratifying about the film, however, is that it never loses its sense of awe. The film refuses to give in to the cynical pessimism of standard sci-fi fare, and its astronauts recognize the immense importance of their mission, particularly when things start to go south. Cordero keeps the tension ratcheted up, never forgetting how innately tenuous the safety of space travel is. The performances are all good, and Copley in particular is a standout.

But what I appreciated most about the film was its tactile nature, a by-product of its low budget. The difference between models and fully CGI creations is literally tangible. A week or so ago, I watched Disney's 1979 film The Black Hole for the first time, and while the green-screening is terribly shoddy, the film's effects stand miles taller than most of the genre fare produced today, if only by virtue of the fact that being real, they informed the cinematography and performances around them.

Europa Report fits in comfortably beside Duncan Jones' fantastic low-budget Moon, and while not perfect, compares favorably to that modern classic. This class of film can either be a failure (see: Apollo 18) or a classic (the aforementioned Moon); Europa Report isn't flawless, but it's a great entry in the canon of smart, well-made sci-fi.
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8/10
NASA docu-drama
astell-13 July 2013
Imagine NASA making a documentary about a hypothetical exploration of Jupiter's moon, Europa. Now add elements of high drama to make the documentary a little more entertaining. Et voilà! Europa Report.

In many respects this film reminded me of 2010:The Year We Make Contact: It has much of the feel of 2001 but the decision making, along with the science, is less credible than 2001. So that's about the same as 2010. The film is based on our actual scientific knowledge of Europa which is a big plus for the film.

Europa Report is presented as a retrospective assessment by a mission controller on Earth. It is well done but somewhat flat and predictable. The attempts at drama are equally flat and predictable.

So how to sum up? Europa Report is a well crafted movie and you can easily imagine this is an actual space mission. It makes a refreshing change from space soap operas and silly adventure films like Armageddon. However it will appeal most to scientists, engineers, teachers and those with a genuine interest in space exploration. If all you want is another episode of Star Wars you should look elsewhere, but personally I kinda liked this movie. Of course I'm an engineer.
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10/10
A movie for true sci-fi fans
juffin halli30 June 2013
If you are a true sci-fi fan, you should see this movie. It doesn't have a lot of visual effects, star cast or action. What it does have is realism, scientific character and honest human emotions. It tells a simple story of astronauts doing their job, willing to make sacrifices for science and not being dramatic about it. The plot and characters are believable, and realistic style of the film creates suspense much better than any cheap effects and tricks. This movie is made in a true spirit of sci-fi genre. Perhaps, it doesn't deserve a 10, but it should definitely have a higher score than something like "Prometheus". After all let us not forget about 'science' in 'science fiction'.
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10/10
Left field space travel flick with good science for a change
greenmemo27 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a phenomenal sci-fi movie with a realistic approach to what it would be like to send a manned spaceship into the outer solar system, most precisely Jupiter's moon Europa, known for having an ice crust beneath which scientists suspect exists liquid water, maybe even an ocean. Six astronauts (four men and two women) make the team of the expedition; these knowledgeable fellows unlike those from some much bigger and dumber examples of the genre of recent memory. In their mission they will encounter many dangers being radiation one of the most deadly, and they will take sometimes calculated risks, some other times crazy ones because there is no other choice. Do not get fooled by the fact that the movie chooses the found footage format to tell the story of these brave souls: this is nothing like Apollo XVIII; this is more like "2001" and "Sunshine", with an atmosphere of mounting dread and eerie cosmic landscapes reminiscent of "Alien", alternating between the claustrophobic, the agoraphobic and the awe inspiring. The narration or I should say "assemblage" of short circuit video and spacesuits' helmets feeds is tight, and the film is so well crafted technically, that you get the impression you've been watching real footage from NASA; there are also a handful of genuinely jaw dropping sequences, like the landing on the title moon (accentuated by an intense musical score), terrific weightless scenes and a terrifying "plumbing" accident towards the end of the movie. Overall, it is a great genre achievement that will leave you wishing you could get the chance to explore the arcane mysteries of space yourself, in spite of knowing so well that you might end up like the proverbial moth that is mesmerized by the light of the burning flame.
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9/10
An excellent space drama
rokr3 July 2013
Not every sci-fi movie is an action-packed super-hero popcorn flick. Luckily! And Europa Report shines among those, lately rather rare examples.

Europa Report follows the line of a documentary and does that so successfully that I, throughout the movie, kept forgetting that humans actually have not yet landed on Europa. While the search for extraterrestrial is in fact the focus of the mission, it is not the focus of this movie, but rather human behavior and psychology, the magic of exploration and the steps we are ready to take for something that is larger than individual life.

The story flows beautifully and, yes, with time-jumps demands full attention from the viewer. And as a consequence also delivers a great deal of excitement and enjoyment. Have the last minute or so of "the storyteller's" explanation and commentaries not came across a bit patronizing and unnecessary, somewhat spoiling the spirit of this pretty intelligent movie, I would consider giving it a 10.

I definitely recommend to all the science, space exploration and old- school-sci-fi fans. And for those after Ironman and the Avengers - probably not a movie for you.
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8/10
I think any sci fi fan will think this is good stuff.
seanrodgers321 July 2013
I loved the movie, mostly because it dealt with topics that I am very interested in. Space exploration is just.. Awesome. I think this movie was aimed in a very great direction and was executed well; however, in areas it seemed to show that it was lacking power of a bigger budget. At other times that is not the case at all, As there are many great visual scenes, and a fantastic conclusion.

I think the acting was very unexpectedly good, not a single person was a bit unbelievable or annoying or anything like that.

The story is great, and is very much intelligently woven with modern theories and discoveries in science.

There is one thing I will say in a somewhat negative vein. There are certain kinds of scenes that I wish they did way more of, like outside on the planet. Not that they don't do it enough, but you can never have enough of that.

I highly recommend this to any sci fi/ space fanatics

It is one of my favorite movies in the last couple years.

Hope you enjoy it.
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9/10
Very underrated movie. I liked this better than Gravity!
Pride824 December 2013
This movie is truly underrated. Same happened with a series called Crash. After noticing the sub-par ratings, I knew I had to write my review. :)

I am 31, educated and I've been watching movies and series actively for as long as I can remember. I consider myself part of the "intelligent" audience whom can occasionally enjoy a block buster action flick. Still to me the most enjoyable movies tend to be the well directed and written drama, like Into the Wild, The Wrestler, Munich, American Gangster and so on.

I was truly impressed how the production team managed to craft something this mesmerizing with the minimal budget they apparently had. Characters felt real and there wasn't any awkward, overacted drama.

The movie is very well paced and it kept me hooked since start to the end. The drama arc was superbly implemented as the suspension thickened as the movie progressed. The sense of loneliness and sadness struct through.

I didn't find any plot holes/annoyances, if you skip the obvious that the crew manages to communicate with Earth without any delay.

Europa Report isn't a block buster action sci-fi for the drooling masses, but instead it is a sort of a minimalistic movie which delivers a surprisingly strong emotional punch.

Recommended! Check it out!
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10/10
A wonderful movie for science fiction lovers.
Byllepest17 November 2013
I wish there were more movies like this out there. There are no unreasonably loud sudden bangs, flashing screens, with screaming voices making you jump in your seat fumbling for your remote. This movie demonstrates how to build suspense without straining the viewer.

The build up of the story is also untraditional; sometimes jumping back and forth without being confusing, and giving the viewer just enough information about what is ahead. Occasionally some characters breaks the fourth wall, justified through videotaped interviews subsequent to the main storyline: An instrument in storytelling I normally find cheapening, but here it finds it home.

You will have time to wonder about life in the universe, space travel, and maybe even learn a thing or two. This movie is as good as stripped of implausible reactions and unreasonable claims. It's soothing to see science fiction with a good degree of realism. I'll even let Michael Nyqvist get away with his Russian accent mysteriously wandering into Sweden in the latter part of the movie.
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6/10
A unique, realistic and a gripping Sci Fi movie
Mizbar29 June 2013
As a science/space enthusiast, I found this movie to be really interesting and enjoyed it. I think all the viewers who like these types of plots would enjoy it, but the directorial approach may be annoying to some viewers. The shaky statics videos and limited angels of camera view might not be too popular. There wasn't any character development or focus on the characters, it was pretty straight forward. The documentary style used was reasonable. The best thing about this movie was it was a low budget indie movie which did a wonderful job. A lot could have been better. Humans traveling to space and land on Europa, a moon in Jupiter, that itself is a reason to watch it, Do not expect a typical Hollywood style movie. However this movie takes a very realistic approach to present the complex space mission depicting the psychological and the physical strains on the astronauts.
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