Tuesday, 16 February 2016

europa report

europa report takes the form of a documentary about the the crew of europa one and their mission to explore the outer reaches of our solar system in search of life. their destination as the title suggests, is europa, one of jupiter's moons and one of the few planets capable of supporting life due to the presence of water on its surface. naturally, things do not go to plan.

europa report is probably more sci-fi than horror, although there is a horror element. it's a very well-made film, the set in particular has clearly had a lot of effort put into the detail and it's necessary because we spend most of our time there. the performances are great too, particularly from daniel wu and sharlto copley who kind of play opposites in that one is all about the mission and the other is all about the experience. there are some very tense moments, basically any time anyone does anything outside the spacecraft, and there is a constant sense of human beings trying to explore somewhere that we're not physically equipped to explore. they shouldn't be there, not in space and certainly not on the surface of europa, and the filmmakers never allow us to forget that.

my only really issue with europa report was that it felt a little like i'd seen it all before. it's all handled really well, and the found footage element i suppose allows it to be a film on the scale of something like gravity without access to the same budget, but i'm not sure that this film was really doing anything that other films haven't already done, even going back to the sci-fi movies of the fifties. the found footage format doesn't add all that much, if i'm honest, because there are so many cameras in the spaceship that it feels like a conventional film most of the time anyway. when the crew arrives at their destination there are some really interesting scenes, and without wanting to spoil it the way that what they find on the planet is handled is unexpected and interesting. that said, it felt to me like this is a film that couldn't decide where it wanted to be - was it a serious space expedition drama or a sci-fi monster movie? it's a film that falls somewhere between gravity and alien, and that's fine but at times it feels like it needed to have decided one way or another.

i really enjoyed europa report, i think the cast and the filmmakers did an excellent job of showing me what it was like to travel into deep space, i think the ending is really good and definitely satisfies the promise of the premise. at the same time i felt like it was missing something and occasionally its commitment to authenticity was at the expense of a persistent narrative.

the found footage blogathon will run throughout february in which time i plan to review as many films as possible and maybe throw in a few extras as well. if you'd like to be involved and post your own content, send me a link via twitter with the tag #foundfootageblogathon. i'll retweet your link and will include it in a summary post at the end of the month. you can find a full list of the films i'll be reviewing here.

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