Europa Report (2013)
With Europa Report (2013) director Sebastián Cordero has fabricated one of the best sci-fi films of the last decade. Along with Duncan Jones’ Moon (2009), it is my favorite indie sci-fi in the last few years. The story reminds me of something potentially conjured from Arthur C. Clarke’s imagination, and there are certain simularities to Peter Hyam’s film adaptation of Clarke’s story 2010 (1984). Europa Report is believable and doesn’t insult us with stupid characters and ridiculous scenarios.
The film is observant and applies sound science. During a scene where a thick layer of Europa’s ice cover is penetrated with a thermal drill, the team biologist compares the setting to Antarctica’s Lake Vostok, which NASA has used as a comparative analog to Europa. Until only recently has the ancient lake and primitive bacteria been studied within Vostok. Europa Report is made believable by referencing not science fiction but science. I love scripts that are scientifically sound.
Kudos also to the look of the film. The production was designed by Eugenio Caballero (Pan’s Labyrinth) and it shows. I wish Guillermo del Toro would have retained Caballero for Pacific Rim. Europa Report doesn’t cram CGI through our optic nerves and uses the effects to support the story. The cast is limited to 9 people, including the six Europa mission specialists, Engineer James Corrigan (Sharlto Copley), Engineer Andrei Blol (Michael Nyquist, who we’ve seen before), Mission Leader Daniel Wu (William Xu), Pilot and Archivist Rosa Dasque (Anamaria Marinca), Science Leader Katya Petrovna (Karolina Wydra), and Dr. Dan Luxembourg (Christian Camargo). They are all good. It’s nice to see a space exploration film without an evil character or a pompous scientist. No complaints or belly-aching! Whewhoo.
Europa Report is highly recommended. This film is coming to theaters in August 2013, but is available for streaming rental now via iTunes.