To some longer movie bloggers, you will probably remember Chris @ Film Hipster. Sadly, he isn’t in our blogosphere anymore but before he left, I remember him being one of the first and few to review this movie, Europa Report and giving it a decent rating. Now, I have a bad memory but that was why when I saw this on sale in Plattsburgh, I snatched it off the shelf. A few weeks later, here I am, having watched this and pondered a little on what to write.
Lets check, shall we?
Director: Sebastian Cordero
Cast: Daniel Wu, Sharlton Copley, Christian Camargo, Karolina Wydra, Michael Nyqvist, Anamaria Marinca, Embeth Davidtz
William Xu (Daniel Wu), James Corrigan (Sharlton Copley), Dr. Daniel Luxembourg (Christian Camargo), Dr. Katya Petronova (Karolina Wydra), Andrei Blok (Michael Nyqvist) and Rosa Dasque (Anamaria Marinca) are some of the best astronauts from around the world and they are all commissioned to complete a privately funded mission to explore Europa, one of the Jupiter’s moon. Their assignment is to extract sample and document whether there is life form there as they documented the existence of a vast amount of water under the icy surface.
I’m just going to keep the synopsis brief because in the end, this is a sci-fi thriller in its rawest form. Its shot to be something like a documentary on the space crews ventures there: what happened and what they found. If I told you more, it’d just be pure spoilers and that would ruin the fun.
With that said, Europa Report is my kind of thriller (maybe its yours also). The slow-burning type. In the nothing happening, I felt something happening or just something that could happen in the unknown causing the feeling of uneasiness. Europa is unknown territory and as much as I loved space when I was very young some time in elementary school, I’m not very knowledgeable about these things anymore. The scientists use big words and the visuals look authentic to those you would see in space magazines. Fact is, I watched a bit of the special features afterwards and they did extract pictures from actual satellite shots of that area. In general, space is a captivating topic. We can see that with the success of Gravity. This is obviously not as visually stunning as that but it has its only type of beauty to watch.
A lot of how the movie is featured is with its various cameras set on the spaceship. All these cameras give us a perspective of their down times in their living quarters to up to the cockpit. Thats the admirable part of this because we can capture a good idea of the set up of every angle of the spaceship and how everything works within the beginning part. Thats important when the issues (which you know they will have) occurs eventually and they have to move about. They also use close-up shots when the crew is sitting near the camera working to capture their reactions. I feel that gives it a kind of familiarity and bond with the crew as they try to not only get through this mission but maybe prove something amazing in the process. The cameras emphasize on the limited space they have and the unknown outside as they approach Europa and this adds on the tension.
Most of the actors aren’t very known to me but there are two familiar faces I’d like to point out. One is Michael Nyqvist who played in MI:Ghost Protocol as the bad guy or you may know him from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as the journalist in the original Swedish one. As Andrei, he is a bit weird and is in his own territory where he just engineers and plays with this and that. The other actor is one of my faves in Hong Kong film industry is Daniel Wu. To see him totally exercising that perfect English of his in an international movie makes me very proud, plus I have total faith in his acting. Everyone has their part in the movie, even the supervisor (I think) of the mission sitting back on Earth played by Embeth Davidtz as she hears the updates from headquarters and recounts the events of this mission just like you would in a documentary.
There really isn’t much else to say. Overall, Europa Report is a pretty awesome sci-fi thriller. It uses confined spaces in an spaceship and a mission into the unknown to search for possibility of lifeforms. Its six brave people who chose to face some problems and survive. It may be slow but it builds up the tension very well. The use of cameras observing the crew’s movement we experience the mission as if it actually happened. This one has just got a lot of style and I totally love it. And it has one of the best endings that I’ve ever seen. I don’t say that very often for a movie because most movies just mess up with a lazy ending but man, this one was a *GASP* moment. If you are into this sort of movie, sci-fi/thriller/slow-burning, this might be a very good choice for you 🙂
Have you seen Europa Report? What did you think of it? Are you a fan of sci-fi/thriller?