Trailer Hitch: ‘Source Code’ Will Be the ‘Groundhog Day’ of Sci-Fi Thrillers

The Projector
"Am I in the Matrix?" Summit Entertainment
"Am I in the Matrix?" Summit Entertainment

"Source Code," the new film from "Moon" director Duncan Jones, wants you to know that it's a science-fiction movie ... a really familiar science-fiction movie. Sort of a "Groundhog Day" in the world of "The Matrix," this film is admittedly right down our alley: We're suckers for stories in which the hero has to replay the same span of time over and over again until he gets it right. (There was this great "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode that used the same idea. Riker and Geordi had to ... OK, stop making fun of us...) But while "Source Code" has a good cast, this trailer works so hard to lay out the movie's conceit that we feel like we've already seen the entire thing.

Trailer category: Sci-fi. Beat-the-clock thriller. Catnip for Wired subscribers.
Major selling points: Jake Gyllenhaal is sure likable. Michelle Monaghan is sure likable. Can Jake save the day and get the girl?
What successful movie are they trying to remind us of? "Groundhog Day." "Minority Report." "The Matrix." The TV show "Quantum Leap."
"Hey, (s)he's in this?" Vera Farmiga (doing the ice-queen military-commander thing). Jeffrey Wright (doing the Jeffrey Wright thing).
Line of dialogue that's really what the whole movie is about: Gyllenhaal: "What would you do if you knew you had less than eight minutes to live?" Monaghan: "I'd make those seconds count."
Spoilage? Pretty darn high. This is not one of those trailers that wants to keep its futuristic plot a mystery. We know that Gyllenhaal plays a soldier who's been tapped to serve in "Source Code," a "Matrix"-like program where he enters the body of a man who's going to die in eight minutes. (Why eight? Stop asking so many damn questions, audience member.) He has to figure out who's going to destroy the train he's on, but he also wants to rescue the pretty girl (Monaghan) who's destined to die in the train explosion -- but his mean ol' commanding officers won't let him. So unless there are some twists along the way, we now know everything except the finale.
Enticement Percentage Increase: 25 percent. It's a cool concept that plays with notions of destiny, fate, time travel, the war on terror, and all that. We just wish the trailer didn't give up most of the story all ready, which suggests that maybe the studio has zero faith in this movie. We just hope "Source Code" is better than other computer/Internet-inspired titles like "Firewall," "Hackers," and "CD-ROM: The Movie." Sadly, only one of those movies is made-up.