Smart sci-fi thriller can be intense, terrifying.
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Europa Report is a "found footage" sci-fi movie. The main issue isn't so much action violence as lots of tension and terror. Not much is actually shown (until the very end), but creepy things happen, characters die, and their absence is deeply felt. Language is very sparse but includes a few uses of "s--t" and one use of "son of a bitch." Romance and/or sexual tension isn't an issue. Teen sci-fi fans will recognize actor Sharlto Copley from District 9 and Elysium and may want to see it for him.
What's the story?
Six astronauts (Michael Nyqvist, Sharlto Copley, Christian Camargo, Anamaria Marinca, Daniel Wu, and Karolina Wydra) embark on a lengthy and potentially dangerous mission to Jupiter's fourth-largest moon, Europa. Their goal is to dig under the ice on the surface and search for life forms. On earth, Dr. Samantha Unger (Embeth Davidtz) tries to monitor the mission but must deal with faulty communications. Accidents start happening, and before long these things begin to look like more than accidents. Strange lights appear, and the astronauts' options decrease. Before long, the mystery of life on other planets clashes with the reality of whether or not they can get out of there alive.
Is it any good?
Presented in a "found footage" style, EUROPA REPORT embodies the best of that genre. Like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, it gets by on sound, suggestion, mood, and the power of the unseen, rather than shock or gore. It uses its time to build a generous rapport between the astronauts. They gently tease one another, but there's very little vulgarity or sexual innuendo to turn things sour. When things start to happen, each tragedy is deeply felt.
Additionally, director Sebastian Cordero -- who also made the very good Cronicas -- apparently used actual NASA footage of things like solar flares for a very realistic touch. Indeed, it's difficult to tell the effects shots from the real thing. The sense of isolation and high-stakes survival is clearly palpable. Only a few niggling little details keep it from being a great film, but it's surely a good one -- and better still, it's a smart one.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about Europa Report's scariness and violence. What's shown, and what isn't shown? Which has the most impact, and why?
- How effective is the teamwork between the characters? What could they have done to improve it?
- Teens: Does this movie make being an astronaut look appealing? What's a real-life astronaut's job like?
|Theatrical release date:||August 2, 2013|
|DVD release date:||October 8, 2013|
|Cast:||Embeth Davidtz, Michael Nyqvist, Sharlto Copley|
|Studios:||Magnet Releasing, Magnolia Pictures|
|Topics:||Space and aliens|
|Run time:||90 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||sci-fi action and peril|
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