Friday, August 09, 2013

Europa Report

Dir: Sebastián Cordero

There is a fine balance between realism and escapism when it comes to science fiction cinema, and here is another film that attempts to walk the long tightrope between the two. Similar in style to 'Apollo 18' and 'Moon', 'Europa Report is about a manned mission to Jupiter's moon Europa which encounters a string of calamities which require the crew to make sacrifices if their mission is to succeed. The entire film is presented in a fake documentary style, with all footage belonging to interviews and onboard camera footage from the mission. As the title of the film indicates, the film is meant to resemble a report regarding the mission and its set backs.

As entertainment, the film suffers slightly, not least due to its premise as a faux documentary. Although there are poignant moments of drama and the actors give as good as they might, the style means an over reliance on static, and cameras cutting out at key moments.

One of the most interesting features of the film for me was the design of the spaceship. Seen here below is a rendering by Joseph Díaz who worked as a concept artist on the project and whose blog (follow the link) shows several illustrations. As far as I can see with my limited technical understanding, Europa One is about as realistic a space ship design as I've ever seen, though it shares more than a passing resemblance with the space craft from 'Mission to Mars', and as such, it seems a tad small for so enterprising a journey. Lets be honest, a mission to the vicinity of Jupiter calls for some pretty radical design and engineering, and if the film wants for anything in the realism department, its the puny size of the ship, its six person crew (only two engineers) and the lack of essential back up systems.   

I have no doubt that the plot required a certain level of assumption however so we suspend our disbelief that there is only one other power source on board with which to repair the communications array and enjoy the film its brave attempt at realism in a story of a mission which must, by any understanding, be 99.9%  boring.

So well done to the people who brought this effort to light and hopefully they'll go one to make more interesting films in the future.

No comments: