Friday, May 9, 2014

Well, even if we found nothing it's an effective discovery.

Remember, last fall, there was that terrifying movie set in outer space? It had some astronauts in an increasingly horrible predicament, and realistically presented space as one of worst possible places to ever find yourself? So intense, right? That awful scene when they're out repairing that thing? Jeez. And after all that build up, it had that oddly ambiguous ending? Oh, and remember when it was nominated for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation? Ugh. It's on the tip of my tongue. Oh, oh! [snapping fingers] The director! He's this cool guy with a funny accent. Shit. It's so close, damn it. What was that friggin' movie called again?

Oh, right. Europa Report. That's it. Damn. I was totally thinking about something else.

Anyway, strongly recommended to me by my heterosexual life-partner, J. Fleming, Europa Report was that other space odyssey released last year.

Directed by Sebastian Cordero, this found-footage flick tells the story of a group of astronauts studying one of Jupiter's moons, the titular Europa. This moon, slightly smaller than our own, is believed to have water beneath its surface, thereby making sustained life a possibility. But, like -oh, I don't know- every f--king space mission ever, something has gone, or will go, horribly, horribly wrong. 

Shot on what was likely an incredibly small budget, and featuring, to me, only one recognizable face (the always awesome Sharlto Copley) Europa Report is surprisingly effective. The footage looks very authentic, and is impressively cobbled together. It's tense, moves quickly, and resonates on an emotional level thanks to the intimate portrayal of the six-person crew. And despite it taking me two viewings to get through (I slipped into, um, hypersleep the first time), I'd still recommend it, even if it's presented, as my wife puts it, really sciency. 

Where Gravity [review] had only Sandra Bullock and George Clooney for us to care about, Europa Report has an entire crew. Initially, only one member really means anything to us (the aforementioned Copley, as family man James), but as things get impossibly dire, you'll care about all of them. And as you can imagine, being the furthest away from Earth as any people ever, things get incredibly dicey, and obviously, aren't going to end well.

While, for me, the emotional impact wasn't as strong as it was with Stone and Kowalski, I still managed to get the chills once or twice. And all that sciency stuff my wife bailed on? It's infinitely fascinating. In fact, even though the low-budge nature perfectly suited the story, there was a part of me that would like to revisit Europa with a Gravity-esque budget. It's pretty fricking cool.

Not cool, on any planet, are the Yays and Boos. They're probably going to finish quickly, as my very educated mother just served us nine pizzas. Well, I suppose nowadays, she just serves nuggets or something.

  • Even though it's a movie, it's still impresses me to no end that some people will actually strap themselves to a rocket and live in a place where they can't.
  • James has the reason why the women are kind of pissy. Makes sense.
  • Michael Nyqvist. Not only did I really like his performance, but this guy sounds a lot like Stellan Skarsgard. (I love his voice)
  • Speaking of Nyqvist, his guttural scream is one of the most chilling things I have ever heard. I had headphones in and I almost needed a minute.
  • Dan Fogler! Not only is it funny to see this guy playing a serious doctor, but bonus points that he's not playing fat asshole.
  • There's an eerily quiet POV shot that's held so long, it's truly breath-taking.
  • And finally, I was a huge fan of the extreme close-ups of the characters eyes. Of all the things that we see in this film, the fear and determination in their eyes is what I'll remember. 
  • Solar storms. Always ruining everything.
  • You know what? F--k pin 2. Leave that shit alone.
  • Have you ever got gasoline on your hand? It sucks, right? Smells so bad, you don't even want to get back into your car. Well, there's a space version of this, too. And it's worse. Much , much worse.
  • You know, for some smart ass astronauts, these f--kers do some pretty some dumb shit. Fine, it might also be heroic shit, too, but what the f--k, William? What was that?
  • What's that old saying, curiosity killed the Katya? It's something like that, I know it.
  • And finally, the ending. I actually liked the way it ended, but I kind of wanted more. And I may or may not have wanted it to be scarier. Or at least, creepy. Er.

You know, by 2022, there are plans in place to actually visit the surface of Europa with an unmanned spacecraft. Seriously. I imagine when it comes back, we'll learn all kinds of things about the possibility of living somewhere other than Earth. Maybe we'll see that humans have the capacity to survive in the harshest conditions away from our home planet. Just like in that movie....shit...what was it called? Oh yeah...



  1. This was a pleasant surprise since I hadn't really heard much about it before watching. The "sciency" stuff worked for me, too. Loved the ending, and yeah, more shoes might have made some of the crew members happier...then again there are never enough so maybe not...just kidding, ladies. Just kidding. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. 'A Pleasant surprise' pretty much nails it. It's weird that it came out so close to Gravity and didn't even get some peripheral attention. Oh well, good flick!

  2. I really loved this movie. I was a little skeptical about the found footage aspect of the film, but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked how this movie took the science so seriously...even on a shoestring budget. I just referenced 'Europa Report' in my entry for Brittani's favorite movie title blogathon! I want as many people as possible to know about this movie!

    1. I couldn't agree more. I hope more people get the chance to see it.
      I didn't know it was a found-footage flick initially, but it's handled so well, it completely works. And on what was likely a minuscule budget, they didn't skimp at all. Well, at least as far as the ship and stuff was concerned (they did skimp a little on the end...sort of, I guess)

      An excellent choice for Brittani's blogathon. I'm working on mine now.