"Sacrifice for a Humanist Cause"
EUROPA REPORT depicts modern astronauts launching into deep space to investigate possible life on one of Jupiter’s moons. Making good use of found-footage and near-documentary styles, this humanist movie succeeds in asking important questions, but it fails in answering them with anything nearing biblical truth.
EUROPA REPORT is a science fiction thriller documenting a modern-day team of astronauts on a mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.
In the story, the promise of ice and heat means that – gasp! – alien life could be found there. (Strangely, the word “alien” is hardly, if ever, used. Instead, the scientists just refer to “life”). Using an interesting mixture of actual space travel accounts and fictitious found footage, press junkets and individual interviews, the movie unfolds the astronauts’ journey into deep space.
According to space.com, director Sebastian Cordero worked closely with NASA authorities to create a realistic storyline and to augment the movie’s character backgrounds and motivations (for instance, they made one astronaut a former oceanographer). To ensure it’s accessible to a wide audience, the dialogue is dusted with only a little techno-speak.
At times, the visuals look a little gamey (as in video), with several graphic elements added to the screen to let viewers know which camera they’re looking through. The other special effects are believable, but one overly long sequence portraying the shuttle against an orb in space should have looked less like an Atari game and more like news footage. The story’s timeline jumps forward and backward, but keeps audiences straight with an on-screen counter likened to the ship’s iconography, so it’s not as hard to follow as one might think.
Apart from the cinematography, the movie is very human, by focusing on questions of survival and the human condition, especially in the face of madness inducing situations.
EUROPA REPORT feels quite intense and almost claustrophobic at least half the time. The crew must make emergency room-like decisions a few times, which is highly contrasted against their cell-room-like pace at other times. The droll and extreme moments are at least lightened by a handful of light or earthly comments. Along the way, the characters carry a deep, caring bond for one another.
The astronauts’ sincere concern for each other as individuals bonds them together, but they recognize that their human love is counterbalanced by their need to do all they can for their space mission. It’s a classic battle, reminiscent of any situation where people put work above relationships: careers, military battles and personal ambitions. Except, in this case, personal sacrifices are made in the name of science for the good of all present and the future of mankind, as well as for the small team inside the space capsule.
At times, EUROPA REPORT tackles philosophical questions. One character asks, “Who are we,” “Why are we here,” “Where do we come from,” and “Are we alone?” The movie suggests that answering these questions is part of the spacecraft’s mission.
Though “the heavens declare the glory of God [and] the skies proclaim the work of his hands,” (Ps. 19:1, NIV), these scientists and anyone in real life would only need to look in God’s Word for the meaning of life. Solomon, David’s son, considered such questions as well, and was able to point us to the Lord as the ultimate purpose for existence.
At one critical moment, an astronaut wonders, “Compared to the breadth of knowledge already known, what does your life actually matter?” Sadly, this sounds as if a human being’s intrinsic worth exists solely on what he or she can do for society. This is also the measure of success for one of the team’s scientific coworkers back on earth, who says, “I don’t know what greater measure of success they could have achieved.”
EUROPA REPORT’s story can lead to self-introspection from moviegoers. Christians could even use it as an entryway to discuss critical issues with a non-believer. Thus, the movie easily lends itself to wondering who made the stars and planets, pondering the meaning of life, and what will happen to us after we die. Despite this, the movie ultimately promotes a humanist worldview, including the idea of evolution. In the end, the astronauts sacrifice themselves to a humanist cause. EUROPA REPORT also has some intense scenes leading to death, though it isn’t gory. So, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends extreme caution.
(H, Ev, C, LL, V, M) Light humanist worldview supporting evolution, with a redemptive element of sacrifice; 10 obscenities and one profanity, plus a mention of urine; light violence consists of a few work-related accidents and mysterious incidents; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, hints of interpersonal strife due to cabin fever feelings among a group of astronauts on a space mission.
In EUROPA REPORT, astronauts traverse the galaxy together toward Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, to see if it contains alien life. The drama jumps forward and backward in time, depicting the team’s poignant trials. Along the way, there are heart-wrenching decisions. Should the astronauts save themselves, or make a sacrifice for the entire mission? At one point, a character asks, “Who are we,” “Why are we here,” “Where do we come from,” and “Are we alone?” Sadly, no one in the movie comes to a biblical understanding about life. Except for their personal sacrifices, knowledge for knowledge’s sake reigns in the astronautic team’s humanist worldview.
EUROPA REPORT’s promotes introspection by moviegoers. Christians could even use it to discuss critical issues with non-believers. Thus, the movie easily lends itself to wondering who made the stars and planets, pondering the meaning of life, and what will happen to us after we die. Despite this, the movie itself promotes a humanist worldview, including the idea of evolution. It also has some intense scenes leading to death, though it isn’t gory. So, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends extreme caution.