Europa One and its six astronauts—captain William Xu (Daniel Wu, The Heavenly Kings), science officer Daniel Luxembourg (Christian Camargo, season one of Dexter), marine biologist Katya Petrovna (Karolina Wydra, After), chief engineer Andrei Blok (Michael Nyqvist, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), engineer James Corrigan (Sharlto Copley, Elysium), and pilot Rosa Dasque (Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days)—head for the moon in their highly advanced craft.
Europa Report is shot in the style of a documentary, with the company’s CEO (Embeth Davidtz, season three of Californication) and a press conference with the crew serving as exposition to tell viewers how the project came about. From there, cameras inside of the craft capture the findings and daily activities of Europa One.
The movie could have easily been one of the many science-fiction movies where aliens jump out of the dark to give the audience cheap scares and where the characters exist solely to be killed off (the crew of Europa One is undeveloped and doomed, but they come off devoted to the mission). But under director Sebastián Cordero (Crónicas), working with a script by Philip Gelatt (The Bleeding House), it’s restrained and refuses to be an over-the-top or showy production. Even the special effects are used smartly; they’re there not to one-up the most recent sci-fi adventure, but to portray how places look and how certain discoveries could look.
Europa Report is certainly not without genre expectancies, but it takes a route that many space exploration pictures wouldn’t bother to.
The Musical Journey of Europa Report (5:41): Composer Bear McCreary touches on his score while making the case for actually visiting Europa.
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery