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Subtle and slow-paced but enjoyable chunk of hard sci-fi
on 17 September 2014
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!