Review by: Mountain Monkey
SCUM Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
If you’re looking for a break from the usual 200-million dollar, thrill-a-minute ‘product’ being unleashed by Hollywood this summer (or any other summer), look no further than indie sci-fi flick, Europa Report.
Produced with a comparatively paltry budget of less than 10 million dollars, Europa Report was filmed entirely in a Brooklyn warehouse in 2011. The limited space for filming is evident in the movie, as most of the drama happens within the confines of a space module hurtling towards Europa, which is an ice-covered moon orbiting Jupiter. Almost everything else on-screen is filled in with CGI that isn’t fantastic, but good enough to keep the movie humming along.
The six astronauts in the space module ‘Europa One’ are on a two-year long flight to investigate whether life exists on Europa. Apparently, where there’s ice (Europa is covered in it), there’s life, so a private company ‘Europa Ventures’ gathers enough funds for the mission. Nothing much is said as to how and why a private company is funding the mission, but there’s a viral marketing site that gives some background on the mission and company.
Inevitably, things do not go smoothly for the crew, and they encounter a solar storm that knocks out communication with Earth. With real-time communication gone, the rest of the movie is pieced together with footage that is filmed by the modules cameras. This ‘found footage’ approach to movies should be familiar to us by now (after Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project), and it works pretty well for Europa Report, with its solid script, excellent editing and limited budget.
There are no big name actors in Europa Report, and they deliver decent performances that support the fluidly evolving story-line. My only real complaint about the movie is the finale, which is a bit of a letdown (some things are best left unseen!). Other than that, Ecuadorian director Sebastián Cordero and the rest of the crew deliver a very entertaining sci-fi movie, which follows in the footsteps of Moon (2009) in proving that you don’t need a titanic-sized budget to create a good movie.