In Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two, Jupiter’s dense atmosphere ignites turning the giant into a small star, this concept is not far off from many ideas that NASA has about our solar system’s 5th planet from the sun. It is believed and theorized that Jupiter is a failed star leading many to speculate that nuclear explosions detonated in Jupiter’s atmosphere could cause the planet to complete it’s cycle into a full burning sphere of gas. This causality would then lead to the ice on Europa to melt becoming a fully habitable planet sustaining human life.
Europa is Jupiter’s smallest moon and consists mostly of ice, nickel and iron but the atmosphere is believed to be composed of mostly oxygen, scientists have puzzled over the possibilities of “ice fishing” -as Neil Degrasse Tyson put it- in one of Europa’s ice oceans as they feel this sphere is the closest to Earth in our solar system to sustaining planetary life.
This is the concept in Europa Report that drives the scientists into their 22 month journey out to study Jupiter’s most eccentric moon.
After an accident leaves one of their own left for dead and communication to Earth undetermined they continue their course with the internal and external recorders still documenting their journey.
When arriving on Europa they learn that the surface and depths have much more to offer than they theorized and maybe some forms of life are better left undiscovered and alone.
Europa Report is a found footage movie and it’s lost appreciation could be associated with it being released at a time that moviegoers were experiencing a “found footage” fatigue, but it is not the standard archetype and goes in a different direction. The film is told out of chronological order and combined with interview style cut scenes with the astronauts and head of the space program on earth discussing the events of the film. We get to witness the events in the order that Earth receives the transmissions recorded once the crew was finally able to establish contact with main base.
Starring Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium) who I feel is a lost treasure waiting for his time to shine in Hollywood’s light and Michael Nyqvist (John Wick), Europa Report’s primary star is the amazing set design and visual effects bringing the alien ice world millions of light years away to the audience’s home.
It is a unique take on not only the “found-footage” genre but the sci-fi and horror combo as well, trust me this is not a movie that teases you for an hour and 40 mins with the belief that you will see an alien and only get Jodi Foster’s dad (Contact joke). This film has it’s viewers experiencing the intensity and solitude of space travel and the horrific reveal of what monsters live in the oceans isolated at the end of the universe. I give this film 4 Claws