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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Europa Report

When a sci-fi movie achieves a certain degree of excellence I have special category of greatness where I place such films. Europa Report, the little known sci-fi film of summer 2013 is placed squarely in this special category.

The farthest than humankind has ever traveled; Europa Report takes us to a moon orbiting Jupiter where researchers believe there may be life. As a crew of scientists and engineers depart Earth they tread the well-worn path of many a space movie. Traveling to Europa the crew have their squabbles, their celebrations, their successes, their letters and videos made for loved ones on earth.

Then the lines go dead. They loose all contact with Earth. They have every possible gear malfunction imaginable, including a few mental and emotional ones. Director Sebastian Cordero permits this display, the usual psychological strains the typical sci-fi film character faces, but Cordero keeps them to a minimum. He does not rely on these typical factors to carry the film.
The clichés become less and less important as the adventure of the actual mission intensifies. 

Once on the crew arrive on the moon Europa, everything goes wrong. When characters we’ve become fond of start dramatically disappearing we realize this is not a story about the power of the human spirit’s ability to overcome all odds. This is intended as a realistic portrayal of a real mission. What it would actually be like to venture to the far reaches of our solar system. It is a stunning achievement.

For 10 million dollars this film transcends basic film devices. The Astronauts’ struggles to survive become incidental. Europa Report takes us past the mere human crusade of survival. Way past.

Errata: Surprisingly the crew miscalculates the temperature of Europa as absolute zero. Absolute zero is a scientific impossibility according to the Smithsonian. Particles not longer move and energy is no longer transferred. At absolute zero, the principle that prevents perpetual motion from existing which is also used as an adjective to describe the decent into disorder- entropy- reaches its minimum value. The scenes on Europa are overflowing with entropy, so this absolute zero declaration is blatantly false.