MV5BMjA2OTk5ODkxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc4MDk0OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_What’s it all about?

An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately funded mission to search for life on Jupiter’s fourth largest moon.

Why did I want to watch it?

I love all that space stuff, but this film would have passed me by if I hadn’t seen it mentioned on someone’s blog somewhere. I think. I certainly don’t think it was ever released in cinemas here  in the UK, or if it was I missed it. But you know, exploration, spaceships, planets, sci-fi, all very cool.

What did I think of it?

Europa Report is a faux documentary sort-of found footage movie in which we are looking back at an expedition which clearly went wrong; we are told immediately that communications are lost with the ship and its crew several months into their journey. We also learn early on that one of the crew gets killed but we don’t find out the circumstances until later.

Let’s just say that going to Europa doesn’t end well.

The film is nicely done in many respects but the direction seemed a bit sluggish to me and it also seemed longer than its 90 minutes running time, perhaps because it was an accurate reflection of a long space trip with periods of not much happening. The structure of the film is a mixture of interviews and cuts backward and forward from recordings within the ship to periods of what are apparently current live action though it isn’t always clear which is which. It has a good cast but most of the crew are so inscrutable that it’s difficult to connect with them. The thing that was missing for me was any real sense of tension; even though they all spend the film clearly in danger it never felt that way to me as a viewer.

Which makes it sound that I thought this was awful, which it isn’t at all. I actually enjoyed watching it but in the same way I enjoy watching a documentary rather than a human drama, so maybe the director did his job too well. It’s a good solid B movie IMHO.

But I can’t help thinking a lot of trouble would have been avoided if they’d just paid attention to Dave Bowman in 2010:

All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landing there.

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