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Europa Report [Blu-ray] [Import]

 PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   Blu-ray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 33.69
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Europa Report [Blu-ray] [Import] + Pacific Rim (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet] + Gravity / Gravité (Bilingual) [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet]
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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Putting the science back in science fiction Nov. 22 2013
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
They just don't make many realistic hard science fiction movies these days - not without some kind of monster or alien virus running amuck or a secret agent embedded into the crew intent on sabotaging the mission, but Europa Report gets high marks for its focus on the science of a deep space mission. Yes, there are a few inaccuracies along the way (such as the fact the crew is able to converse with Mission Control with no time lag from the vicinity of Jupiter), but the special effects and attention to detail are really impressive given the fact that is an indie film (NASA reportedly assisted in the project development). There is also a refreshing absence of space opera to the storyline; heck, there's not even a romantic subplot to be found among this crew of men and women. No one breaks down emotionally or descends into madness, either, when serious problems arise. The entire crew works together to fulfill the mission, embodying the words of one of the crew members: "Compared to the breadth of knowledge yet to be known . . . what does your life actually matter?"

For those unfamiliar with Europa, it is the smallest of the four Jovian satellites first discovered by Galileo - and the sixth largest moon in the Solar System. One can easily make the case that it is also the most fascinating orbital body in the Solar System: its atmosphere contains oxygen, its surface is covered in ice, and many scientists believe that a water ocean is to be found below the surface. Such an internally heated ocean holds out the prospect that some type of life - most likely unicellular - exists on Europa. After we put men on Mars, Europa is the next place we should be sending our astronauts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Purring the science back in Science Fiction Nov. 20 2013
Format:Blu-ray
I thought this movie provided what seemed to be a pretty realistic idea of what deep space travel would be like. A very neat idea and a cool, if slightly obvious ending. In my opinion one of the better scyfy movies I've seen.
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3.0 out of 5 stars More sci than fi Dec 11 2013
By bernie TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
A mission to Europa goes awry. However scraps of video are recovered. The mission center recombines the scraps and extrapolates the results.

We get to see the results and help speculate.

First there are no Gabor sisters, big red spiders, or any fun stuff; at least not at first and maybe never. I guess there is no time for a love story unless it was love of a new planet (moon.)

Second they must have taken photo lessons from the "The Blair Witch Project" (1999). Sprinkled with lots of flashback, sound bites and other unnecessary garbled video.

Of course even though it seem slow (the first 20 minutes are like watching paint dry) eventually you will watch it in hopes that it at least will be "Ten Little Indians" by Agatha Christie, in space. You will not be wasting your time whether you watch or not.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  553 reviews
132 of 155 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Speculative Documentary with some Science / Plot flaws July 11 2013
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
By calling Europa Report a speculative documentary, I mean to put it in the same style category of Discovery Channel et. al. efforts like "Supervolcano" and "Alien Contact." It invokes the feel of a National Geographic expedition documentary.

Overall, a great effort for a fairly low budget film. The bad science issues are minor - most notable are the rotating arm of the spaceship with no counter rotation of the rest of the ship (Newton's third law anyone?) and the apparently full Earth gravity on Europa.

The plot devices I consider flaws are unrealistic scenarios like: the problems encountered during the spacewalk, the lack of mission planning that threw such a huge wrench into the crew's plans after landing a mere 100 meters from their intended landing site, a lack of ANY redundant way to communicate with Mission Control, and a few questionable decisions by the crew. (I liken the extension of the surface walk to the classic 'space-explorer-takes-off-his-helmet-to-confirm-the-air-is-breathable' scene played out in SciFi movies from the 1950's right through "Prometheus").

Though the biggest 'suspension of disbelief' needs to be reserved for the possibility that we would send humans to Europa without first sending even a fraction of the robotic exploration we've sent to Mars. I think the movie could have mentioned a few more advanced robotic missions as prelude to the manned mission to help with the authenticity of the premise.

While I agree with other reviewers that it's good to see a movie where scientists understand the importance of the data, I also applaud the movie for demonstrating the narrow-mindedness that scientists can show. Whether this was intentional or not, the movie showcases the scientists refusing to believe something other than what their earth-developed theories suggest is causing the chaos on the planet. Right up until the end of the movie, nobody is willing to step outside their own paradigm. It reminds me of the X-Files - no matter how much weirdness Scully encountered, she still thought Mulder was nuts!

Overall, I enjoyed the movie enough to plan to purchase it when it comes out for sale. This was a perfect movie to watch on Amazon 'Before It's in Theaters' because of the documentary style. The movie is thoughtful and a bit thought-provoking and I'm grateful when such movies can cut through the summer blockbusters as well as this did.

P.S. Don't let the disappointment of "Apollo 18" dissuade you from watching this movie. Though billed with the similar 'found footage' advertising, this film is far superior. Beyond that, "Europa Report" doesn't try to be a horror movie like the trailer slightly implies - though there are some tense scenes.
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but one of the best movies I've seen in a while Aug. 13 2013
By Realon - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is indie sci-fi. Hence, it has flaws, partly due to the limitations that it gets from being "indie" as opposed to a Hollywood-funded gig.

With that said, this haunted me. The hard-science aspects of it are pretty good, at least in terms of plausibility. (Don't get stuck on the fact that some of the footage is of actual rockets that couldn't possibly launch a major interplanetary craft or other details like that...) There are other tidbits that as a true space-nut I could nit-pick, but what I really liked was the fact that it seemed like the film makers made a real effort to ask "What if we did have a mission like this? What would be the things that could realistically go right or wrong? How would it affect both the people involved and the people back on Earth?"

There are aspects of the movie that seemed like they were heading toward "thriller" territory, but they really didn't get there. Sure, there's dramatic tension and some usual movie tropes, but not the ones that usually piss me off about more recent sci-fi. What they found on Europa didn't "get them", and when bad things happened, it wasn't a good-guy vs bad-guy situation or a rogue crew-member does something wrong type of situation like so often happens in movies. What they portrayed was more about passionate scientists making the best of what they had and sacrifices for the good of each other and in the pursuit of knowledge. Sure, that's also drama, but it didn't feel like things that were written or portrayed just for the sake of drama. It felt more like the type of things that the crew of such a mission really might have happen and really might react to in such ways.

The movie does follow a non-linear and found-footage sort of format, which might bug some folks. I generally don't like that sort of thing, but it worked well enough for this one.

Hey, if nothing else, I enjoyed this movie as a geek, and it made me wonder again why people are so willing to spend resources fighting each other when there's so much still to explore about our universe and so many possibilities to discover something great.
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Humans-they taste like chicken Nov. 15 2013
By No BS guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I have mixed feelings on this one. It is an attempt to redo 2001 but with a bit more science and a bit less flash. The dialogue and fuzzy pictures got quite tiresome after awhile. I know all the static was an attempt to make it look more real, but I actually like to see what's happening.
Now, there actually have been proposals to travel to Europa and drill through the ice, so I like the concept, but I really wasn't riveted, and the ending was just not satisfying. Of course, what made it worse was the ending speech by the program director back on earth trying to make it all noble and uplifting. It was just too smaltzy. It was OK, but certainly not more than that.
77 of 109 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Indie Sci-Fi/Horror Flick Aug. 6 2013
By Your Role Model - Published on Amazon.com
Let me say that I'm a BIG fan of both real-life space exploration and sci-fi films (including sci-fi horror). SO, I really REALLY wanted to like this film.

Sadly though, I cannot recommend it.

The problems come not so much from the idea, which is good (a manned mission to a moon of Jupiter to search for signs of extraterrestrial life). It's the execution that causes the film to come apart at the seams.

First off, the 'found footage/documentary' angle is getting pretty old and tired. It adds little to the film beyond a bunch of annoying 'camera flickers' and bobbles, and a lot of hyperactive and unnecessary jumping around from camera to camera inside the ship. As (over)used, it's a distracting and annoying gimmick.

Secondly, it doesn't help that we care about basically NONE of these characters. Not even Sharlito Copley (of 'District 9' fame), who just isn't given enough time or space to develop before... well, let's just say it's not good. In fact, each and EVERY one of these characters is here simply as a version of 'Ten Little Indians', to be killed off one by one, in order to present some sort of 'dramatic tension' that the (rather basic) script is lacking.

Unfortunately, you don't gain any dramatic tension from killing off characters that no one cares about in the first place.

Then there's the matter of how oddly dumb all of these allegedly 'best of the best' astronauts are. They routinely (and unrealistically) break protocol, and get killed every time for it. Nor do the survivors ever learn from this. Honestly, you could've sent the cast of Two and a Half Men, and they'd probably have a better survival rate.

So, we get a crew of astronauts who are both strangely incompetent *and* whom we're uninvolved with as characters. The most common excuse given for this is that, as scientists and engineers, they would be unemotional professionals and thus hard to get to know. But contrast this with something like Apollo 13 (the Tom Hanks film)... the astronauts there were both believably competent/professional (in other words, believably astronauts) AND fully realized three-dimensional characters whom we did care about. Without that, that film would've lost a lot of its impact.

Europa Report, while a different film and its own experience, definitely could've used some of that same touch... relatable 'human' characters who involve we, the audience. Nothing is really added by keeping the crew at arm's length, it's more an excuse for ham-fisted and unimaginative writing.

Moving from the scientists to the science, the film does try to be hard science, but this winds up being a very secondary consideration, as the latter half of the film devolves into a very standard "Ooh, there's something scary out there" horror movie.

Why the big shift? Probably out of an (unfounded?) fear that the audience will be bored to tears otherwise. Fans of this film will probably dislike comparisons to the (pretty awful) Apollo 18 sci-fi horror film, but yes, there are a number of similarities, and sadly, Apollo 18 probably comes out ahead in terms of entertainment value.

Btw, and *SPOILER* (skip this paragraph if there's any chance you'll see it): The 'this is hard science!' angle goes right out the window in reference to the monster. It makes ZERO sense that a naturally-occurring underwater creature would be adapted to breaking through many meters of ice and attacking (non-existent, until the astronauts show up) surface prey in conditions of incredible extreme cold and almost total vacuum, which is what Europa's surface is. Also, ice is literally as hard as stone at such temperatures.

But the sad thing is, chucking realism out the airlock halfway through doesn't buy the film anything, because it probably wasn't a good choice in the first place to try to be a monster movie when your budget's so tight you can't even show the actual monster attacks (CGI's expensive, yo).

Nor do the science and realism funnies stop there, which is sort of odd for a film that claims scientific realism. Some examples:

- Europa's gravity is even less than Earth's moon... yet once the crew gets there, no one in the film even remotely moves or 'bounces around' like they would under low-grav conditions, it's just 'business as usual'.

- Europa orbits within Jupiter's extremely powerful (and deadly) radiation belts, so even 2-3 hours unshielded on its surface will cause a human being serious radiation sickness (and no, spacesuits will not effectively shield you). Yet, a crew member on the surface asks to extend her already-too-long-and-dangerous EVA by an hour... and the mission commander *okays* it??

Or, put another way:

Crewmember radioing in: "Hey Commander, I'm not quite radiation-poisoned enough out here yet. I really do want the whole nausea and vomiting thing, plus I think being bald is a cool look on a woman. Can I hang out here on the radiation-blasted surface for another hour, until I get well and truly sick? Whaddya think? Over."

Mission Commander: "LOL, you so crazy. Well okay, but just this one time. You go girl. Over and out." (Would never happen).

- The main ship has huge solar panel arrays on it. Why? Out at the orbit of Jupiter, where Europa lies, you only get 4 percent as much sunlight (and thus, 4 percent as much solar power) as you would at Earth's orbit. Solar panels would essentially be dead weight for most of the mission, and such a mission would not allow for any dead weight. Like it or not, a small nuclear reactor would be the logical/likely power source for such a mission (and yes, you can build 'em that small, look at nuclear-powered submarines... and you can go smaller than that).

- Why would the crew 'vote' on an EVA? Such a mission would have a firm chain of command that would decide... it's not a democracy. And why would the EVA "have alway been a maybe", to quote the commander? Such things would've been decided and planned/choreographed well in advance. Ditto the whole mission being thrown into turmoil just because they landed a small amount further away from their landing site than originally projected. They would've had better mission-planning than that.

- Oh, and let's not talk about how unrealistic it is for astronauts to do spacewalks without either tethers or thruster packs. Just don't slip, right guys? Right guys? Oops, too late. But man, floating away into forever is just so sad and DRAMATIC, even if it was so very easily preventable. Also ignores the fact that the ship could've fired thrusters laterally and done some sort of sideways 'low speed chase' at least TRYING to save said floater. Oh well, we didn't care about that guy anyway.

Now in most sci-fi films, you could see obviously blown details of this type, roll your eyes briefly, and move on. After all, who CARES if Star Wars is scientifically accurate? But Europa Report is a different kind of sci-fi film, one that relies heavily on the feeling that this is a story that *could've* happened (the only real point to the 'found footage' schtick and camera gimmickry/goofiness).

Thus, the film (and its fans) have been hyping its 'realism' to no end... but really, it shouldn't, considering that it only goes halfway there at best. Nor does claiming Europa Report is more realistic than your average sci-fi movie carry much weight. More realistic than what? Star Wars? Event Horizon? Armageddon? What isn't?

Really, the problem with Europa Report and its big 'monster movie' tonal shift halfway through (among other things), is that the film ends up not being hard science *enough* or serious/exploratory enough to satisfy the space geeks (of which I am one), nor is it nearly scary or spooky enough to satisfy the horror fans (of which I'm also one).

Thus, Europa Report commits to being a 'tweener' film that seems to desperately want to be all things to all people, but winds up doing nothing very well (which is usually what happens when you try to be all things to all people). Not even its somber "the sacrifices we make for the greater knowledge of all Mankind" angle at the end can save it... it feels like a last-ditch attempt to give all the silly, mostly-improbable deaths - of again, characters we don't care about - some meaning.

Yes, space IS dangerous, and yes, the first crews to venture out that far will be brave souls, capable of sacrificing themselves for a higher good... but if a few of them do perish, you can bet it probably won't be in the hokey, B-movie ways depicted here, and they'll definitely be much more interesting and compelling individuals than the unlucky and dull lot of Europa Report.

The good stuff? Well, there is some. The general *idea* of exploring the outer solar system has big-time appeal to a true space-buff such as myself. Many of the smaller scientific details are handled well and realistically. The guy who plays the Russian engineer (Michael Nyqvist) tries and almost succeeds in being an interesting character, even with the script fighting against it. And there is one (and only one) strong scene, a real 'money shot' of the icy, brilliant-white surface of Europa during an EVA, with Jupiter hanging large and shadowed in the black sky. It's the one and only time you feel anything approaching the awe and wonder you're SUPPOSED to feel in a film about this sort of subject matter.

It's a compelling moment, and the only memorable one of the entire movie. If only the film had embraced more of THAT and its implications instead of trying to be some third-rate Alien knockoff, we might've had something truly special here. But that one scene by itself isn't worth the $7 and 90 minutes I put into this film.

Pass. There isn't much to see here. Because in the end, Europa Report doesn't trust its audience, nor does it entertain them. You have to do one or the other, and preferably both.

_____
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed Nov. 17 2013
By OMO - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Kina boring. More of a repitition of old sci-fi plots and visual devices. Be nice to see something really new and interesting in this genre--still looking for it.
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