Europa Report, an independent sci-fi effort about an expedition to Jupiter's moon, was the first movie to get its day in court in Hall H as Thursday kicked off at Comic-Con in San Diego.
The movie is a low-budget affair starring Sharlto Coptey (District 9) and Michael Nyqvist (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) as two members of a six-person crew sent to learn whether there is actually an ocean underneath Europa's crust and whether life exists there.
Even with a smaller budget, director Sebastian Cordero has mounted a handsome little production with the emphasis on science, although the movie has plenty of suspense and mystery to it as well.
After showing the trailer (which, to be honest, makes it look more hyper than the slow-burning film is), the panel is introduced featuring moderator Dr. Phil Plait, Cordero, producer Ben Browning, composer Bear McCreary, actress Karolina Wydra and consultants Kevin Hand and Steve Vance from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
With three scientists on the panel, the emphasis is on the movie's scientific accuracy and why Europa is such a fascinating subject for a movie (answer: because it's the best candidate in the solar system to support life). Clips shown include the ship's rocky landing on the moon as well as Wydra's eerie walk onto the moon's surface.
There's a lot of discussion about the science, the set design, the music and the direction, with Plait and his fellow scientists ending on an optimistic note that perhaps one day we will make it to Europa and find out what -- if anything -- is below that icy crust.
Europa Report is out now on VOD and in theaters Aug. 2.