No, Europa Report is not a Jupiter Ascending ante-literam movie (the fear is legitimate considering the astronomical proximity) and, while I have still to watch the latest Wachowski’s movie, trailers have given me a clear idea what it’s about – fantasy in space, good or bad it might be. This is not the case of Europa Report; in this 2013 SF movie you get a different feeling since the beginning, where a series of sequences shows you a spaceship on its travel to…guess where.
More precisely, the very first scene is a screenshot informing you that Europa One Mission was the first attempt to send men and women into deep space, from which you understand immediately other two things: (1) the director takes the fictional report very seriously, so this has to be something like Apollo 18, narrated with documentaries, flashback and press releases, and (2) something must have gone wrong, otherwise the overall tone would have been more cheerful.
In a way, it is understandable – where’s the story otherwise?
I’ve overall liked this movie, and very much for the reasons I’m sure a lot of people have not – its pace is slow, and the documentary format can results annoying after a while. There are, moreover, some inconsistencies in the way the mission is carried out and at least a couple of serious logical mistakes. But there’s more than that, and in some of its best moments it actually reminded me of a movie like Abyss.
Something you’re going to like, no matter how the rest grabs you, are the images – spectacular, of Europa and Jupiter, and the sequences on the moon, many of them reminded me real footages from NASA’s website.
Another thing worth noticing is that one of the crew members make a direct reference to Lake Vostok – the subject of a SF-thriller novel I have just reviewed last week. And it’s not surprising, given that both locations present something similar – a liquid ocean under (several) layers of ice, sealed for 15 million years in Vostok’s case, since the beginning for Europa. Thousands of species have been identified so far in Vostok, and it is reasonable to imagine Europa’s oceans might contain alien microorganisms. Why not, after all?
What made this movie even more interesting is due to the fact that a mission (non-manned, fine, but you have to start somewhere) to this frozen Jupiter’s moon has been recently approved . We might have a sort of proof of concept, so to speak, about what lives (or not) under Europa’s iced surface sooner than we imagine.
For more about the making of this movie, which I found as interesting as the movie itself, see this video:
Europa Report is currently on Netflix, and on DVD. Worth having a go for all space lovers.