Europa Report (2013)

Cover art:


Europa (2013)Starring Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist, Christian Camargo, Embeth Davidtz, Dan Fogler, Anamaria Marinca, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Karolina Wydra, Daniel Wu.

Directed by Sebastian Cordero

Ah, Europa Report. How I wish you could have washed away the intergalactic doldrums of Apollo 18. All the key components were in place… especially a good cast led by the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘s Michael Nyqvist. What’s that you say? Isn’t Sharlto Copley the star? Nope. Before we get to all that though… here’s your plot.

Six astronauts are launched into deep space to investigate the possibility of life on an orbiting moon of Jupiter that’s covered in thick ice. Their ship, named the Europa One, is covered in cameras, and our crew is in constant communication with mission control… but as you may have guessed, something goes wrong, and it’s not long before our heroic troupe is lost in space. Well, not lost really as they managed to get to their destination before things went south. On earth all monitors are dark, but wouldn’t you know it? Just when all seems lost, coms are reestablished with the now flailing ship and the folks back home are inundated with all the footage that they had missed. Said footage is then cut together with random intervals of narration from the minds behind this failed expedition to the beyond, and boom! The Europa Report has officially been filed.

What we have here, kids, is basically a glorified found footage flick that’s so concerned with coming across with a message and being artsy that the experience goes from interesting to tedious to eye-rolling by the time we get to the end credits. One by one our crew, including the aforementioned Copley (who really makes not much more than a glorified cameo in the flick, disappearing for long stretches of time), is dispatched in various ways ranging from the results of being impatient to a mysterious radioactive moving “light” under the ice.

The main problem present here is that this flick doesn’t play by the proper found footage rules.

For example, the people at Mission Control, who are basically presenting the lost team’s footage for the first time so that their tale of heroism can be told, are hoping that the people who watch this footage will realize that the discovery made so many miles away from our floating green and blue orb was totally worth the risk and loss of life. The crew of the Europa should be remembered for their courage in the face of the unknown. I’m good with that, but would they really take the time to score the footage? You know… why not tack on a musical track to add some emotional punch to the plight of these poor souls, right? This takes you right out of the experience, and with films like this as soon as that false note is hit, the entire illusion is broken. Then again, maybe the music was added to make sure that the viewer was still awake by the end because it truly seemed endless. There are parts of Europa Report that drag on for so long you’ll be shocked when the realization sets in that it only ran an hour and a half total.

As for the final reveal of the otherworldly menace…. let’s just say that those damned moon spiders from Apollo 18 started looking better and better as the film went on. Though Europa Report isn’t as bad as that aforementioned mess, whose entire plot was based around a plot hole, it really isn’t that much better either. Skip this one until you happen to catch it for free on cable. At least then you can shut it off realizing that all you wasted was time and not money.

1 1/2 out of 5

Discuss Europa Report in the comments section below!

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  • Drew Blood

    I wasn’t a fan of this at all, either. I’m surprised that a lot of people seeing it, critics and fans, seem to show favor for it. I’m just looking forward to a found footage movie where something actually happens before the closing seconds of the footage they find! Get a decent editor, guys! That’s the main problem with the subgenre: zero rewatchability.

  • The Woman In Black

    Two comments that mention a “sense of wonder.” Hmmm… You have to wonder… Anyway, I would rate it a bit higher than UC – probably a 2, maybe pushing to a 2-1/2 just because of how well made it is, but I didn’t love it. The bouncing around in time felt gimmicky, and that ending just didn’t work for me. And where the hell was Sharlto’s character for 1/2 the film? Yeah, like I said, didn’t love it – and I really wanted to.

    • Kyle Key

      Yeah, I was reinforcing what he said because I agreed with it, which is why I replied to his comment and said “definitely.” Or you could just check that I’ve been a registered user for close to a year instead of trotting out the conspiracy theories. I check the site every day and usually like DreadCentral’s reviews, but let’s be real, this site isn’t influential or popular enough for one person to create multiple accounts just to disagree with a review.

      But this is a bad review: calling your readers “kids,” repeatedly comparing it to an unrelated movie, getting minor facts wrong (the moon is Europa, the ship is the Europa One), complaining about the existence of music (it’s a fictional movie, obviously it’s not a real documentary), and saying that the “main problem” is that it doesn’t “play by the proper found footage rules” as if one person’s opinion of what the genre should be constitutes the one and only set of “the proper found footage rules.”

      • The Woman In Black

        I was just joking around a little with the “conspiracy” theory, and I know you’ve been here awhile, but if you think we’re not big or influential enough to have people sign up multiple times to bash us, you obviously haven’t been around long enough! 🙂

        And I’d say there are indeed some found footage “rules” that are generally accepted by everyone, but hey, it’s cool. You liked the movie; we didn’t. That’s what makes the world go ’round.

      • Uncle Creepy

        I am far from being condescending when I use the term, “kids,” I do it with love. You wanna take offense to that, that’s on you. As for parallels to an unrelated movie… both this and Apollo 18 were films about footage retrieved from space. Kind of sounds related to me, at least in a thematic sense.

        I never mentioned the name of the moon, which I knew was called Europa, as they stated it 40k times, but I am sorry I neglected to add the numeral ONE to the name of the ship to be more accurate. This was after all called “The Europa Report” not “The Europa One Report” so if such neglect was excusable enough for the filmmakers, then it’s fairly excusable for me as well. I mean it wasn’t the moon that was reporting, right? Just the ship? Still… details! Details!

        And yes, when it comes to movies that enter into a specific genre or sub-genre for that matter there are rules that can and often do apply. Some would call an example of such rules the shooting a zombie in the head as a means of dispatching. It depends on the situation.

        The gist of this film was that the people at mission control wanted to honor these heroes for their courage in the face of the unknown so that they presented footage of their plight to the general audience. That was their main cause. Of course this isn’t a real documentary, but if you’re going to play the situation off as meaning to honor and revere its participants than adding a spooky score when they’re in peril kind of cheapens the message don’t you think? Like seeing real footage of someone jumping off of a building. Would it not be in poor taste to add a musical “stinger” when they hit the ground? No one in their right mind would do that. There lies the false note that took me out of and cheapened the affair.

        Again, I’m glad it worked for you. You’re entitled to your opinion. I don’t consider how you feel about the movie bad or wrong. Reviews are merely opinions and to a certain extent guidelines, not gospel.

        • Kyle Key

          I suppose you were looking at it more critically than I was; even watching it in surround sound, I thought that the score was rather subdued–subtle enough for me to not notice it, apparently. But therein lies with the rub with going into an artistic work with the intention of remembering everything about it and reviewing it–you’ll never be able to suspend your disbelief as much as someone who doesn’t give themselves that burden.

          • Uncle Creepy

            Sadly you have no idea how true that statement is. I wish I could just watch things for fun! LOL

          • frank_dracman

            Are you serious? You watch things for fun all the time, I’ve read articles and listened to DFF. If you didn’t like the movie you don’t have to defend yourself. Look me in my dead eyes and tell me you didn’t watch Sharknado for fun.

          • Uncle Creepy

            Anytime I watch anything horror related it turns into work.

      • Chernobyl Kinsman

        I dunno, if you want to add music to a found footage movie, why are you making a found footage movie? Isn’t the whole point of making that type of film is that its meant to be like.. well, found footage? Or are we just defining it as shitty shakey cams and bad editing now?

        • Uncle Creepy

          My point exactly.

        • Kyle Key

          It’s not a found footage movie, it’s a dramatic mockumentary, and there are plenty of documentaries that have scores.

          And saying “shitty shaky cams and bad editing” reveals that you haven’t seen this movie. The editing is what you’d expect from a documentary style film, and the camera is almost always still; the only times it shakes are entirely appropriate (engine vibrations, person falling down, etc.)

          • Uncle Creepy

            No, it’s NOT a mockumentary. This was assembled footage that was shot by in-craft cameras that was NEVER supposed to be assembled into movie-form, and never would have been if something mysterious didn’t happen. It was put together by the people at ground control so people could revere the plight of these fictitious heroes.

          • Kyle Key

            The intention of the footage is irrelevant. There are numerous documentaries that contain footage from camera operators who weren’t anticipating their work being put into a movie, or from still cameras. If you put footage from a traffic camera or a random tourist into a documentary on criminal car chases, it’s still a documentary.

          • Uncle Creepy

            “The intention of the footage is irrelevant.”

            The intention of the footage is the basis for the entire movie!

          • Chernobyl Kinsman

            You entirely misunderstand what I meant by the shakey cam thing, I was asking are those the only things we use to define a found footage film.

            And usually music is *not* added to footage that isn’t either reconstructed or stills with VO in documentries, or indeed silent film.

  • argentleman

    I enjoyed this one, actually. I liked the much more scientifically based plot. The pace also seemed fine – had a sense of wonder.

    • Kyle Key

      Yeah, as long as you don’t have ADHD there weren’t any parts that dragged on, it has some great visuals, and it definitely has an appropriate sense of wonder that culminates in the bittersweet ending. 1.5 is a joke.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Glad it worked for you, man. Me? The longer it went on, the more disjointed it became, and the more it lost me. The ending was not bittersweet for me…. It was just cliche and silly. I don’t have ADD just didnt like the movie.