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Filed under: Reviews, SXSW Film Festival, Cinematical

It takes a lot to impress a science-fiction fan these days. Truly great sci-fi films are few and far between, which allows the hardcore genre fanatic to A) catch up on all the classics, and B) re-watch (and re-watch) the best of the best. Plus it's just so damn hard to come up with a NEW idea in the science-fiction arena; it's tough to blame us when something fresh and exciting comes along. Take Duncan Jones' 'Moon,' for example, which hit the shelves last year and became sort of an "instant classic" to a lot of genre folks (including me). And the reason so many of us took to 'Moon' so quickly is because ... it's fresh. It's novel. It's original, challenging, fun, and "deep" all at the same time.

Duncan Jones' sophomore effort, 'Source Code,' is not nearly as original as his first film, but it is the next best thing to unique: it's two or three familiar ideas tossed into a blender, whipped into a tasty concoction, and delivered with a great deal of style and confidence. Astute devotees of the realm of speculative fiction will no doubt recognize a few dashes of Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys,' the slightly goofy 'The Butterfly Effect,' and even Harold Ramis' 'Groundhog Day' within Ben Ripley's 'Source Code' screenplay, but it's the tight, slick, and efficient way the disparate elements are drawn together that make the script such a cool surprise. (Congrats to Mr. Ripley, who cut his teeth on 'Species 3' and 'Species 4' before diving into the deeper end of the sci-fi pool.)

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