Monday, December 2, 2013

Europa Report - Review

Part found footage sci-fi horror, part mockumentary, EUROPA REPORT showcases what later happened to a space crew sent on a scientific expedition to the titled moon of Jupiter, right after a solar storm knocked out the communication systems. The fact that the movie is competently made and easy to understand already makes it far and away better than its space disaster counterpart APOLLO 18. The biggest stinging element for horror viewers, however, is that the film wants to be more of a sterile procedural than a thrill ride like GRAVITY. Our human subjects are scientists first, film characters second, as they encounter many distressing elements and come away from them disquietingly calm and collected instead of screaming at each other. When crew members begin to be picked off or chose to sacrifice themselves, the remaining comrades all wisely understand that there's nothing they could have done. Director Sebasti√°n Cordero intriguingly is able to make you believe this was an actual mission, thanks to the natural performances, the deliberately flat camerawork, and the startling CGI work. Unfortunately, there is one big problem Houston can't solve: The movie's nature as a found footage piece really only works if you're unable to identify the actors. Here, hawk-eyed cinephiles like myself will easily spot Michael Nyqvist, Dan Fogler, Anamaria Marinca and Sharlto Copley and lose their suspension of disbelief instantly. Even if you forgo this process, you may be unable to handle the glacial pacing of the story, which is honestly more chilly than Europa itself. Still, EUROPA REPORT is genuinely a nice alternative for those seeking hard sci-fi.


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