May 30, 2015

Europa Report

Sebastian Cordero, 2013
A group of astronauts are deployed on a mission to Europa, one of Jupiter's moons where there is suspicion of alien life or at least the evidence of past life.

So many films in the found-footage genre use the less is more device when it comes to employing something freaky or creepy. There is an expected build-up of tension, suspense, anticipation. Sometimes, like the foundational found-footage genre-creator The Blair Witch Project (a personal favorite that gets a lot of praise on this blog), it's a device that's used very effectively. There you are getting a gradual increase in the amount of creepy stimuli. At first it's just a little pile of sticks in the woods. Then it's the chilling cries of a baby. And then of course the climax at the house. It's about pacing, accumulation and then release. Structure.

Here, you wait for delivery that just never comes. It starts off as a little flash on the screen that one of the astronauts sees from the ship. Then it's another flash. Then it's another flash with some camera distortion. Then some more camera distortion. You continue to get teased and teased for the duration of the film and by the end it's just not enough. The documentary-style interviewing recounting that events that occurred feels faulty and unnecessary. The set design is impressive in regards to the space craft and it's endless surroundings, but there are points in the film where you just want to get off the damn thing and explore. There are no rules set in stone in terms of a story like this, it can go anywhere. But it's supposed to be a Sci-Fi Thriller. Instead of any thrills it has the mildness of Contact without the quality. Its a film that feels too restricted, too minimal. Upon looking back to some of the much better space movies: Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Starship Troopers, Moon... Europa feels very scant and very forgettable. 

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