found drama

get oblique

haiku movie review: Europa Report

by Rob Friesel

the obvious nods
to 2001, also
The Blair Witch Project

Europa Report

…which probably sounds meaner than it should, because I did like it, but there you have it. I wanted to like it more, but the documentary style is hard to get right, and though they got close, I feel like a more straightforward/traditional approach would have served the story better. And it was a good story; not very original, but a good rendition on this familiar arc.

Almost everything about this film evokes 2001, from the titular destination (Europa) to the use of “The Blue Danube” as they leave Earth orbit. But Europa Report winds up being the landing we are cautioned against at the end of 2010.

The documentary style though winds up framing it in much the same way as The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield though — where it’s presented to us as a kind of “found document” where we’ve pieced together a story that might otherwise have been lost. But there’s a few missteps there as portions are presented out of order and there are multiple scenes where the screen is divided into quadrants (or sometimes up to 16 different sections) where multiple shots are shown all at once. This is disorienting (maybe it’s supposed to be?), especially since it’s often combined with “glitches”, and I wind up thinking: A real documentary would not have been edited together that way… The character motivations are a little murky at times (depending more on archetypes than any kind of real story for each one) but…

I still liked it, but be warned: if you don’t already like this kind of science fiction, you probably won’t like this one.

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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