Europa Report looked amazing in the trailer, released a couple of days ago. I sat with my mouth agape, practically drooling with anticipation. The thing is, it was all strangely familiar. I had felt this way before, though not in the slick suspense of The Hollywood Treatment. You see, by all reports, this screenplay was written by Philip Gelatt, but I have seen Europa Report before. Yes, I know my science fiction and I can seldom be fooled.
This movie, even the trailer, is almost identical to a 2007 BBC documentary about space exploration entitled Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets. Though no one dropped through an ice crust, in the BBC documentary a silicate crust covered in sulfur covers the moon of Jupiter, Io, upon which the nuclear thermal rocket powered shuttle called Pegasus lands. The crust sinks under the weight of Zoe, our space explorer. Increased irradiation prevents her from collecting samples. She panics. Her crew mates (five instead of Europa Report’s six) insist she return to the shuttle. There is phosphorescent halo drifting over her helmet. Her heart rates drops, she becomes confused, and her oxygen is depleted but she makes it back on board the craft. They are not able to complete a mission that was five years in the making.
All I’m saying is that Europa Report, even though I still want to see it, should think about citing the series. It’s possible for folks to have similar ideas but the similarities are so striking I would bet money someone at the studio is having a little tête à tête with Mr. Gelatt right about now.
To see a clip from Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets, click below