Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Film Review: Europa Report (2013)

Europa Report (Review)
United States/2013
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...awe-inspiring, chilling, devastating, and even petrifying..."

Six astronauts journey to Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, to trace potential sources of life.

Europa Report continues to tell of the six astronauts and their trip -- their enthusiasm, their excitement, their stress, their homesickness, and so on. Traveling further than any human has ever traveled, the crew eventually reaches Europa. However, unexpected issues arise, which cause problems for their secure arrival. Furthermore, their exploration of Europa reveals a possible life source that may threaten their return home. Is their life on Europa, or is it all in their head? Europa Report continues to an exciting, albeit darkly ambiguous, ending.

Europa Report is a found-footage, mockumentary-like SciFi film. Fortunately, it plays out like a traditional film and avoids the many found-footage clichés. There is a strong SciFi presence, and it contributes significantly to the plot; in fact, much of the Science seems plausible and it is even engaging. The story plays out like a slow-burn and features many suspenseful sequences; one of these sequences is awe-inspiring, chilling, devastating, and even petrifying. I thoroughly enjoyed the balance of story, science, and suspense. However, there is one sequence I didn't enjoy, which follows the horror logic; you know, the "I got what I need, and I know anything else I do is dangerous, but u'll do it anyway" logic. The final act loses some steam, as well.

The acting was great from the entire cast. Every performance felt very authentic and succeeded in capturing the appropriate emotions. Daniel Wu and Anamaria Marinca particularly stood out to me with their very immersed performances. The film is shot beautifully with great cinematography, set designs, and special effects. I was more so impressed by how the film felt so realistic, and used the found-footage style while avoiding its generic staples. The soundtrack is also perfect, really an exemplary OST for the SciFi genre. Sebastián Cordero's direction is very consistent and smooth, pulling great performances from his cast and constructing some stunningly suspenseful sequences.

Overall, Europa Report is a fascinating slow-burn SciFi film. It has an engaging plot and actual Science elements, as well as more than a handful of suspenseful sequences -- one of which I truly loved and won't forget any time soon. There are a few flaws, though, like the one sequence of "horror" logic and a slight lose of momentum towards the end.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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