Although overly fraught with lots of techno-gab, this is a pretty
compelling story of the first journey to Europa, the Jupiter moon most
often thought to have the possibility of life. Six astronauts from
around the globe sign on to a private companyís mission that will take
almost two years of space travel to get to Europa. While many ordinary
movie-goers might not recognize the actors who fill out the crew, they
are an accomplished group, headed by the one who is pretty well known,
Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the Swedish (and much superior) version
of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and its two sequels. Rounding
out the cast are Anamaria Marinca, who won the Palme díOr for 4
Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, Chinese American Daniel Wu, Christian
Camargo from The Hurt Locker, Embeth Davidtz, known for
the American version of ĎDragon Tattoo and TVís Mad Men,
Karolina Wydra, and Sharlto Copley, who was also in District 9, a
sci fi film I found disappointing. Their performances are what
make the movie credible.
However, credit is also due to Director of Photography Enrique Chediak,
who captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of the space ship and the
bleak, frightening landscape of Europa memorably, and the score by Bear
McCreary who blends classical and contemporary sounds and techniques to
enhance the filmís ambience.
Ecuadorian directo SebastiŠn Cordero specializes in psychological
thrillers. He conquers the challenge of giving pace to a film that is
basically a set piece about a crew on a ship on a 22-month trip to a
moon. It never seemed slow to me as the tension slowly mounts.
know what the budget was for this, but even though the special effects
are not mind-numbingly omnipresent and overwhelming like those in Man
of Steel, they are very good. Since this is an indie and not a major
studio, they obviously didnít have the budget to overpower the movie
with major special effects, and this movie is better for it.
mostly shot on the space ship, which was designed by Production Designer
Eugenio Caballero, Oscar‚-winner
for Panís Labyrinth (2006), a visual tour de force. One of
the main points that makes this film work is the realistic space ship in
which the astronauts travel. The creation of the surface of Europa and
the space walks are exceptionally good. His work is buttressed by that
of the visual effects team led by John Bair who was responsible for the
spacewalk scenes and the scenes on the surface of Europa.
with some flashbacks, the story is realistic and tense, as the
astronauts are facing unknown perils. The trip and what happens are as
believable as possible for science fiction. Poor Tom Corbett, Space
Cadet (an early Ď50s TV show, also shot almost entirely on what the
Ď50s thought the inside of a futuristic space ship would be) must be
turning over in his grave.
addition to the fine special effects are the sound effects, which pretty
much put the audience on the ship, allowing it to experience the dangers
and shocks to be found in outer space.
might not win many awards, but itís a film one wonít soon forget.