Monday, October 28, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: Europa Report

2013, Sebastián Cordero -- download

I am not sure what I want out of my truly science fiction movies. Truly science fiction, you ask? The age old argument about hard science fiction vs soft comes down to a question of whether the dominant feature of the fictional piece is about the science involved and whether or not they strive for plausibility. But as a man of fantasy, I am not bent out of shape when a story of man's early attempts at space travel drops the reality in exchange for a creative story. But, as I was saying, I am not sure what I want out of true scifi but I guess it would have to be a sense of originality ... an attempt to explore something unique. This ain't it.

Sure, not the best opening paragraph for a movie I rather enjoyed. But, you see, the movie isn't altogether original. It's another depiction of humanity's first long term space flight. The Europa One was the first ship to leave near earth orbit since the guys went to the moon in the 60s. This time scientists send a team to Europa, the moon of Jupiter. Encased in ice, scientists believe there is water below the surface and where there is water, they hope ... life. But, for the sake of drama, things do not go well. So, we get suspense and drama and even a hint of horror. We don't get anything that has not been seen before when people in spaceships visit somewhere for the first time.

If the ideas are not original, the execution is at least expansive. They mix a bit of found footage styles with the feel of one of those BBC science drama-mentaries, where CG and special effects add to a story that is based on real science. The story sets itself up as a documentary explaining what happened to Europa One, so we know right away things did not go well. And through recollections and actual footage from the ship's cameras and helmet cams, we get the story of the last days of Europa One. The acting is tight, the cinematography exciting but like you always hope those TV science dramas would have a bit of Hollywood oomph behind them, I felt myself itching for a bit of fantasy with my hard scifi. What I did like was the though that this is how real space flight will be, fraught with disaster but still, the sense of discovery making it worth it.