A report on 'Europa Report'

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The other day I watched 'Europa Report,' the 'hard science fiction' disaster film from 2013 that wasn't called 'Gravity.' Yes that's right, there were 2 outer space 'realistic' danger films this year. This one was the tiny one though, comparatively. From my already moderately snarky tone you can probably imagine what I thought about 'Europa Report,' but in case you're not sure already, well, don't worry, for I'll tell you what I thought about it right now....

Drumroll please......

I thought 'Europa Report' was rather dippy. Much like the story in the film, the film itself seemed to me a failed attempt at doing something epic. The film is about the first crewed mission to Europa, one of the moon's of Jupiter. This is inherently an intriguing and epic idea as it would take years to get to Europa so one could imagine the growing tension and personal issues that would arise within a small group of people stuck together for so long...

However this film is a found footage film (inherently again: ugh) so that means what you are seeing, conceptually, is whatever footage was culled down later and presented to best show what happened in a faster manner...So the film jumps around in time a lot and is also interspersed with tons of talking heads (no not my favorite band ever, but just scientists and people endlessly discussing what happened as if they were on CNN or such) and footage of discussions that keeps everything slow in all the wrong ways.

Early on a tragedy is hinted at through glitchy footage but it then takes half the film to reveal what that was, and by that point it is already an old point and the surviving crew has been flying towards Europa for an additional year or so...So any sense of emotional arc/momentum gets warped to say the least. And as the footage is almost solely taken from the cameras built into the ship itself the viewer gets treated to the same angles over and over again...which becomes a bit dull. The film tries to make up for this later with some truly beautiful shots of the planet itself, but it just wasn't enough for me. 

The film should be lauded for doing its best to be realistic in the 'science' it presents, but it seems to have focused so much on this that all else was put on the back burner...And that includes unique and interesting characters that you want to root for and relate to. The people in here are either the typical sort you'd expect to see in a sci fi film, or, again, they are talking head footage you probably don't want to see either. 

And worst of all this all leads up to an obvious reveal that features a creature design so typical as to be eye rolling (at least to a fellow like me who sure does love his creature design)...

So yeah...Europa Report certainly isn't a film I'll be returning to anytime soon. 



About the author

CharlesPieper

Charles Pieper is a stop motion animator, concept artist, director, editor and monster maker who lives in Los Angeles. He has made music videos for the bands Dufus, Summerbirds in the Cellar, Setting Sun, Quitzow, Brit and the Cavalry, Skidmore Fountain, Lo Fi Sugar, YesMisterBloodVessel, and Man's Assassination, Man. He…

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