15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2013
The film immediately reminds one of "2001: A Space Odyssey." A crew of people head out to one of Jupiter's moon to search for life and communications is lost giving a new meaning to the phrase "The Jupiter Effect." Like "2001" the film doesn't spend a lot of time building character, but admittedly this production does a better job, but then what film didn't. In "2001" the sell was special effects. The crew of this feature are the best no accent English speaking white/Asian scientists and engineers from around the globe.
Science fiction wise, the movie addresses some of the issues of a Europa mission such as the deadly radiation that comes from Jupiter. Radiation destroys cell structure making the existence of large complex organisms questionable. People are sent to Europa because an "unmanned probe wasn't going to do it." Personally I would have sent maybe one or two just to be sure.
The movie utilizes camera logs and installed video cameras on board to give the film a modern hand held low budget "Paranormal" feel to it. Indeed, like so many films in this genre, one must wait for nearly the last scene to see a glimpse of "it." For me the introduction of multiple installed cameras as a substitute for a film cheapened the production.
Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Europa Report employs the well-trodden found-footage technique in a space exploration scenario. I was reminded immediately of the Canadian sci-fi/horror Apollo 18 from a few years back (and perhaps to a lesser degree Last Days on Mars), but Europa Report, in my opinion, is a far superior film that provides a genuine sense of wonder about the search for extraterrestrial life and the perils inherent in space travel.
The budget clearly wasn't huge, but the hardware all looks reasonably convincing, as do the (few) zero G effects. It's competently acted and the story builds in measured manner from the initial jovial camaraderie and expectation of our intrepid crew, through some tense, creepy, poignant and quite thrilling scenes in the denouement. The (German) 12 rating is about right with regard to mild use of language and sense of threat in the later stages.
On this German branded 3D Blu-Ray (which took 7 days to arrive), the start-up menu offers choice of language, subtitles on/off and 3D or 2D versions of the movie. I opted for 3D, which was pretty underwhelming. There is a reasonable sense of depth to the interior of the spacecraft, but no projection effects whatsoever, so any of you expecting the 3D wow factor you got with Gravity are likely to be disappointed. 5.1 surround sound, on the other hand, is extremely good and immerses you fully in the creaking ice scenes. I did find the theme and incidental music a bit intrusive though.
Parts of the plot are non-linear and do require you to pay close attention to make sense of every temporal twist and turn.
So, whilst certainly not the best sci-fi since 2001 or the masterpiece some have claimed, overall, Europa Report is a subtle but intelligent and satisfying movie and well worth adding to any sci-fi fan's collection. Nice lenticular 3D effect on the Blu-Ray sleeve too!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This is a good SF film, one of best amongst those I saw recently. Not exactly a great masterpiece, but certainly a very honest, very intelligent and surprisingly original film. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.
IMPORTANT PRECISION: this is the review of the Region 1 NTSC version, which will NOT PLAY on Region 2 European equipment. There is also a Region 2 version available, released in Germany, with original soundtrack but it has no English subtitles.
Europa One is the name of the spacecraft which, in a near future, attempts the first manned space mission to another celestial body since the last Moon landing in 1972. Its destination is Jupiter's moon Europa. It carries a crew of six (four men and two women). This is an international mission, coordinated by a joint body called Europa Ventures, funded by USA, EU and Russia - and therefore the crew, if I understood correctly is composed of two Americans, two Europeans and two Russians.
The scheduled time of flight to Europa is 22 months. Once there the crew is supposed to divide, with some of them boarding the lander and some staying in the orbiter. Those who are expected to land are supposed to gather and analyse samples from the surface and then drill through the ice and explore the subglacial ocean with an unmanned robot probe. There are great hopes that life can be discovered in the ocean, because of heat signatures observed under the ice by previous unmanned missions (fictional ones as there were no probes send specifically to Europa in real life). All of this is just the introduction and covers like first five minutes - and about the rest I will say nothing more.
This is a SF film so of course it takes some liberties with reality and in fact we still don't know with certitude if there really is an ocean under Europa's ice crust... But still, this film tries to stick to real science and real reality as much as possible and therefore offers us a very, very pleasant experience for all amateurs of "nuts and bolts" SF. I must admit that I always liked this sub-genre, ever since I started to read SF as a kid in the 70s - and in the veritable deluge of super-hero film, horrors, space opera, alien invasions, time travels, alternate reality, post-apocalyptics, etc, etc. (which by the way I enjoy a lot too) this category of films seemed to disappear a little. It was therefore with great pleasure that I discovered recently two very good "nuts and bolts" SF films - the grandiose, spectacular "Gravity" and then this film, less flamboyant but nevertheless excellent.
It is fair to warn here that this is a slow film, which accelerates only towards the end - but still, I wasn't bored even for one minute. The story is also no-linear, so I would advise to watch it integrally because you may miss important bits, even in slower parts - if you want to leave the room to get more beer or popcorn, my sincere advice is to pause the film...
With the exception of Christian Camargo ("Dexter", "Twilight") actors who played crew members were unknown to me, but they did really an excellent job. It is worth to mention them here:
- Daniel Wu plays William Xu, an American who is the captain of the mission (after all this is an American film)
- Anamaria Marinca plays Rosa Dasque, the pilot of the ship (she is European and may or may not be French)
- Christian Camargo plays Daniel Luxembourg, chief science officer (another European who may or may not be French)
- Michael Nyqvist plays Andrei Blok, chief engineer, a Russian veteran who is also the oldest crew member
- Karolina Wydra plays Katya Petrovna, a Russian science officer (marine biologist)
- Sharlto Copley plays James Corrigan, an American who is the junior engineer
The story is also partly narrated by people from Europa Ventures who remained on Earth - amongst them one is played by Isiah Whitlock Jr., who made such a lasting impression as State Senator Clay Davis in "The Wire"...))) Another one is played by Dan Fogler ("Fanboys", Good luck Chuck"), who for once looks like a human being, wears some nice clothes and speaks without using obscenities in every sentence...)))
This film, albeit slow, builds up quite a tension from the beginning and as we learn to know better the crew members a heavy sense of foreboding develops. The great finale and the ending are very strong, unexpected and surprisingly moving.
"Europa Report" being in large part about ice crust covered with cracks and craters you can expect some plot holes - and of course there are some, but they don't really harm this film.
Bottom line, I found this film a very, very successful thing and I enjoyed watching it A LOT! A really, good, solid, classical "nuts and bolts" SF movie. ENJOY!
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
They just don't make many realistic hard science fiction movies these days - not without some kind of monster or alien virus running amuck or a secret agent embedded into the crew intent on sabotaging the mission, but Europa Report gets high marks for its focus on the science of a deep space mission. Yes, there are a few inaccuracies along the way (such as the fact the crew is able to converse with Mission Control with no time lag from the vicinity of Jupiter), but the special effects and attention to detail are really impressive given the fact that is an indie film (NASA reportedly assisted in the project development). There is also a refreshing absence of space opera to the storyline; heck, there's not even a romantic subplot to be found among this crew of men and women. No one breaks down emotionally or descends into madness, either, when serious problems arise. The entire crew works together to fulfill the mission, embodying the words of one of the crew members: "Compared to the breadth of knowledge yet to be known . . . what does your life actually matter?"
For those unfamiliar with Europa, it is the smallest of the four Jovian satellites first discovered by Galileo - and the sixth largest moon in the Solar System. One can easily make the case that it is also the most fascinating orbital body in the Solar System: its atmosphere contains oxygen, its surface is covered in ice, and many scientists believe that a water ocean is to be found below the surface. Such an internally heated ocean holds out the prospect that some type of life - most likely unicellular - exists on Europa. After we put men on Mars, Europa is the next place we should be sending our astronauts. Sadly, that obviously won't happen, given the lack of funding and increasing irrelevance of NASA; even in this movie, Project Europa is funded by private rather than public investment.
A hell of a lot of things can go wrong on a mission to Europa, but this crew does not face a serious problem until it nears Jupiter, when a solar storm knocks out their communication with Earth. It's unrealistic to believe such a mission would not have a back-up communications system, but it adds a little bit of tension to the plot of the movie. Determined to fulfill the mission, the crew members have the added pressure of making sure whatever discoveries they make on Europa make their way back to Earth somehow. It's not like they're just launching a probe down to the surface, by the way. Their mission is to land on Europa, drill down beneath the ice layer, and see what lies beneath. I'm not going to give away any spoilers of what happens down there, though.
The one problematic aspect about this otherwise great film is the fact that it tells some of the story in the form of flashbacks. This can lead to some confusion early on, especially when everyone keeps talking about what happened to one crew member when I didn't even know who they were talking about. That should not deter anyone from watching Europa Report, though. This film truly does put the science back in science fiction, posing and answering realistic questions as to how such a dangerous deep space mission could play out - and how the individual astronauts would react and function in the face of unforeseen and potentially catastrophic occurrences.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2014
It is a pity that I saw this movie a month or so after I watched "Gravity" and wrote a review about it.
A review which,I must say, generated several "negative"remarks by other viewers.
Had I seen them in reverse order,I would have merely pointed out that a comparison of these movies would do more than I could ever have done in explaining why I found Gravity to be a mediocre movie,at best.A demonstration of exceptional "special effects",nothing more.No 'serious"acting(a very mediocre S.Bullock and a forgettable G.Clooney.Plus a series of grave scientific" innacuracies ",introduced on purpose in order to facilitate the "spectacular " aspect of the production.
No such things exist in "Europa report".This excellent movie falls a bit short of being a " masterpiece",but it is as honest and interesting science fiction ,as they come.
Everything is in place .The core issue is most important.Seeking other forms of life in the cosmos.The science is impeccable.The acting is low key,yet excellent.The characters are quite interesting.The whole adventure,and the conclusion of the drama,is a hymn to the human spirit and to the fact that in this quest it is humanity that must,and wiil,benefit,not the individual.And it has the characteristic of most great movies of the genre. The ending is quite unexpected,so I will only say that the crew's quest for knowledge in service to the human species is succesful.
I thoroughly enjoyed this "little gem of a movie".And I will choose it over "Gravity"type special-effects based movies ,any day,any time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2014
Cheap price as its all German text on packaging .
Film did have English language though, so was all good.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2014
I was a bit mystified by the hype over Gravity and not sure why it was so critically acclaimed. Yes it was beautiful and jammed with expensive effects - but it left me a bit bored. Europa Report is ten times better in spite of having cost much less to make. Excellent actors, good science, gripping story - and it's proper Sci Fi.
on 3 May 2015
I like sci fi and I am sometimes over generous towards sci fi films (e.g. Cargo I scored 4 stars I like it). However I feel this film fails on too many levels. It felt like I was watching a student project, where they were never going to get the budget the plot needed but they were desperate to make a feature length film. Particularly the use of cameras on faces rather than on scenery was so intrusively obvious as a budget saving measure. The documentary style, interviews, also came across as money saving, whereas if they had been used more sparingly they would have been an interesting feature. The plot itself was rather derivative, something we forgive in films that are really well made, but in combination with the limitations of this film, just make it forgettable. I hope this is a vehicle that enables the people behind it to go on and make better stuff.
A mission to Europa goes awry. However scraps of video are recovered. The mission center recombines the scraps and extrapolates the results.
We get to see the results and help speculate.
First there are no Gabor sisters, big red spiders, or any fun stuff; at least not at first and maybe never. I guess there is no time for a love story unless it was love of a new planet (moon.)
Second they must have taken photo lessons from the "The Blair Witch Project" (1999). Sprinkled with lots of flashback, sound bites and other unnecessary garbled video.
Of course even though it seem slow (the first 20 minutes are like watching paint dry) eventually you will watch it in hopes that it at least will be "Ten Little Indians" by Agatha Christie, in space. You will not be wasting your time whether you watch or not.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2014
A superb and realistic film depicting an attempt at landing on Jupiter.
Reminded me of 2001, Alien 1, and some of Tarkovsky Russian Sci Fi classics from the early 70s.
I especially enjoyed the look of the space craft, the hi def cgi looks very realistic.
Well worth a watch.