Europa Report (2013) Review

A group of scientists undertake the dangerous journey to Europa in order to determine if any life exists below the surface of the Jovian moon.


  • Very good writing with a solid plot and execution
  • Atmosphere and mood are fantastic
  • Acting is good


  • Slow start in the beginning, but movie picks up

People who love hard science fiction should definitely watch Europa Report. It’s not a popular science fiction movie in the sense that it has explosive action or romance, but the journey the scientists take and their discovery will really inspire the imagination.


A group of scientists travel to the Europa, one of Jupiter’s many moons. Their mission to collect samples from beneath the ice crust and determine if any organisms exist on the moon.


There are only 9 characters in the movie, so the cast isn’t that large. Of note is the captain of the mission, William Xu and Katya Petrovna, the biologist.


The story has a “found footage” format, with Dr. Unger, head of the agency in charge of the mission, narrating events. Flashbacks are dispersed throughout the movie to reveal to readers the fate of the ship and the astronauts.

Europa Report Review

Europa Report is one of those movies that has solid writing behind it. I don’t normally like movies or shows that have a person narrating events after the events since the story then just seems pointless: the events have already occurred, so there’s no sense of suspense.

But Europa Report executes the whole found footage idea and narration extremely well. Dr. Unger shows up to put together the pieces of the puzzle regarding the mission to Europa, and the flashbacks, ship footage, and crew logs are all combined in a smooth manner to illustrate the fate of the crew and their mission.

The title of the movie really tells you how the format of the movie is revealed: it’s a report. It’s a mission report from the crew, but it’s also a report from the agency to the public. And in this way, elements throughout the movie that include multiple camera views, helmet cam views, and submersible cam views all make sense. Some viewers may find this “camera” perspective skewed, but within the context of the movie, it just makes sense.

One aspect I really enjoyed is the acting of the characters and their plausible reactions. These are scientists on a journey of a lifetime to answer one of mankind’s most important question: does life exist outside the planet? These scientists act in an altruistic manner, and their behavior and actions are consistent with their quest for knowledge.

The scene with James Corrigan and the suit contamination comes to mind, and we see the difficult choices that the characters make in order to ensure mission success.

While the crew’s journey to Europa is fraught with danger, the real suspense comes when they land on Europa and begin their experiments. We see the concern the scientists show one another, and we see that that their quest for knowledge overcomes their own sense of safety. I think it’s because I share some of these sentiments that I related to the characters and the movie more.

The mystery and suspense that take place later in the movie really make up for the slow start. The debate that the scientists have after what happens to Petrovna really increases the intrigue of the movie.

What happens on and during the mission to Europa seems very plausible to me. There’s no sense of creative liberty taken with the movie that we see in other science fiction, like warp drives, teleportation, and food synthesizers. So while it’s a work of fiction, the events in the movie could have easily taken place not too far in our own future.

What’s fictional is the logistics of the such a manned mission to Europa. We don’t get to see the gritty details of the journey, like waste disposal and interpersonal and romantic conflict. Too many movies gloss over the human tendency to really cloud things with emotions, especially during such a long journey with men and women living together in cramped spaces.

But we don’t read or watch science fiction to see how people poop in space. What Europa Report does is offer a suspenseful and thrilling story about a group of people’s hunger for knowledge and the obstacles they’re willing to overcome to satisfy it.

If you’ haven’t yet watched the movie, then it’s one that you should definitely look forward to if you’re a fan of science fiction. The writing, acting, and conclusion of the movie will leave you feeling inspired and contemplative.