I watched Europa Report last night and realized why I watch so few movies now. Europa Report was actually quite good, but all the things that made it good left me thinking why I never see movies anymore.
I had never heard of it and the Netflix browsing tells you absolutely nothing you might want to know about a title. So I picked it, essentially, at random. It was late afternoon; I had stayed out too late on New Year’s eve and figured a space movie was just about the right speed. I fully expected to get bored and fall asleep or annoyed and shut it off.
Instead, I got completely engaged and found myself wondering why there are not more movies that tell interesting stories without resorting to explosions, car chases or will-they-won’t-they plots.
Europa Report was quiet. It had long scenes, few jump cuts, no sexual tension nor any romance, no half-naked women, no gore. Rather than try to dazzle and distract, it presented the story, giving you time to think about why the characters did what they did.
Io9 calls it “the most painstakingly accurate space movie [they]’ve seen in ages“–which I wouldn’t know–but I appreciated that it was a space movie that focused on space. The look on the face of the really pretty Russian astronaut when she finds herself on Jupiter’s moon is amazing. It’s what the whole movie is about.
It’s just a story. Not the most original story ever (Sure, there’s a space menace. And, of course, there are technical crises. There are the noble sacrifices, clever fixes), but a story which is allowed to rest on itself. If it were a book, I’d keep reading–I can’t say that about the lest several movies I’ve watched.
I want to be engaged when I’m entertained which requires more than flashing lights and pretty people in tight clothes. This movie accomplished that and it was very striking to me that it had been a long while since I felt that way about a movie.