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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Putting the science back in science fiction, 23 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Europa Report [Blu-ray] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Nov 2013 18:03:52 GMT
Mirrorman says:
Looks interesting! Shame the release is currently Blu-ray only... :(

Posted on 1 Dec 2014 10:40:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Dec 2014 10:42:48 GMT
"This film truly does put the science back in science fiction"

Sorry, but I have to disagree here. The Jupiter flyby incorrectly features an oversized Europa and suggests a size relationship with Jupiter like the one of our Moon and Earth.

In general, most of the film's poster artwork suggests impressive images, but all we get during the Jupiter approach is one of the protagonists describing it. Not only for this but for many other things, I'd still recommend 2010-THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT over this movie (and Arthur C. Clarke's original 2010 novel features what apparently has been the inspiration of this movie).
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Daniel Jolley
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Location: Shelby, North Carolina USA

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