What if the global scientific community got its act together and sent a manned mission to Europa, a moon of Jupiter, looking for evidence of life in the ocean beneath its icy crust? What if PBS put together a really first rate episode of "Nova" to detail the journey and its extraordinary findings?
You'd probably get something like "Europa Report," a Sci-fi film that delivers adventure movie suspense and authentic science in equal measure. NASA consulted with screenwriter Philip Gelatt to help create a solid, mostly plausible script that might still rely on standard tropes (a solar flare disrupts communications as the ship approaches its destination; a strange electromagnetic interference seems to herald every new disaster that the crew face once they've touched down), but which also fleshes out its story with an intriguing combination of mortal terror and intellectual curiosity.
Central to the film's stylistic presentation is the format, which is part found footage (video feed from the space ship) and part faux documentary (candid interviews with the head of the civilian, corporate project behind the mission, played by Embeth Davidtz).
The Blu-ray release includes special features on the film's CGI and green-screen visual effects; composer Bear McCreary's thoughts and creative process in creating the score; and a wealth of behind-the-scenes photos. There's also a theatrical trailer, along with previews for other films.
Fans of thoughtful hard Sci-fi have most likely thrilled to this film already, either On Demand or in cinemas, but they will gape and marvel anew at the crystal clarity of this Blu-ray release. Warning: If you find classics of the genre like "2001" to be tedious, you might have the same response to this. Go rent or buy something from the "Star Wars" or "Transformer" franchise instead.