A crew of top astronauts, from around the globe, embark on a mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. With the discovery that water may lie under the frozen surface, the crew is attempting to find any sign of life on Europa. Communications are lost, and the crew must continue their mission, unsure if they’ll find anything, or whether anybody on Earth will know if they do.
It’s not often where you find a film set in space, that actually uses the real life danger astronauts face to build tension. This is exactly what Europa Report does, and it’s the main reason the film is so successful. We’ve seen our share of space crews attacked by vicious aliens, so this film avoids that premise, creating a pulse pounding adventure with little more than a few malfunctions.
It’s the performances of everybody involved that brings Europa Report to the next level. The characters are incredibly well written, and acted to perfection by the cast. There’s no generic cliches to be found, and even when it looks like characters will react in a predictable way, they manage to surprise you. One can only imagine that this is precisely what a manned mission to Jupiter would be like.
This is another highlight of the film. Despite a rather fantastic plot, everything is kept as close to reality as possible. The filmmakers even turned to NASA to ensure things were as realistic as they could be. Eventually, realism gives way to fantasy, but when you’re dealing with the possibility of life on a distant planet, who are we to say what is possible.
The events of the film don’t take place in chronological order, which can be a bit disorienting at first. Really, the film is only like that to create some tension right from the start. Without this, a good portion of the opening would lose it’s strength. It may not have been the perfect choice, but it’s a good beginning to a film that is full of tense moments. You’ll constantly find yourself clutching the arm of your chair, leaning slightly forward, and hoping that the crew can overcome any obstacle in their way.
The Final Call
If you have an interest in science fiction, you’ll want to be sure to check this film out. It looks incredible, features outstanding performances, is full of tension, and manages to surprise at just the right moments.
Europa Report screens on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm at Cineplex Scotiabank as part of the Toronto After Dark Spotlight Screening series. Check their website for more information.