A global team of six astronauts set out to explore a moon of Jupiter where water and life are thought to be found. The story is retold documentary style, using the camera footage from inside and outside the shuttle, as well as inside and outside the astronaut’s suits.
Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium) and Michael Nyqvist (Swedish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), are the most notable actors, though it’s the other four that you get to know more so. The three, let’s call them funders of this endeavor, are rather strange and distracting – you’ll see.
Europa Report, with some pretty visuals and a claustrophobic atmosphere, will trick you into thinking it is more meaningful and interesting than it is – but unlike the film’s wide-eyed and auspicious characters, don’t be fooled.
With the aim of being some lofty, important piece on the values of space exploration and the attempt to reach life on another planet, Sebastian Cordero’s quiet sci-fi flick is worthy yet aimless. Valiant efforts are made to connect the audience with a folksy, United Nation-esque crew of mostly young idealists (Nyquist is an old curmudgeon, and doesn’t look quite physically up for the trek).
We all spend plenty of time together in a very intimate space, and it does at times become a bit nerve-wracking. Yet every stab at trying to relate to the characters fails, and that disconnect is only reinforced with several of them make very stupid decisions. For a film that strives to be very authentic, it’s hard to believe some of the procedures and protocols, or lack thereof, that lead to the various misfortunes.
The cast and writing just isn’t strong enough to hold attention in a film that is exceptionally slow and striving to be thoughtful. What turns out to be a completely tangential story tries to add some tension and terror to a film that simply can’t keep up a pace. A lack of action is fine, but pair it with a lack of intrigue and quality writing, then you’re in trouble.
Its’ ideas are noble, and the film is visually compelling, which is why it can easily fool its audience into thinking it’s better than it actually is. Certainly aided by the big screen, Europa Report is optimistically and imaginatively made, but doesn’t have the talent and insight to back its aspirations, especially compared to the recent Moon and the new Gravity.
While there may be some redemption near the ending, an exceedingly poor choice sees the movie continue five minutes more, reminding you of failed potential and wasted time.
Should You See It?
It’s better on the big screen for sure, but still not worth it. Save it for home viewing, and get some of your robot friends to join you in mocking it mercilessly.