Jake Gyllenhaal is a man on an unusual mission in this spring’s Source Code, the new sci-fi thriller from Moon filmmaker Duncan Jones. The first U.S. theatrical trailer and international preview for the film were in part quite effective as they immediately plunged both viewers and Gyllenhaal’s character into a strange situation with no explanation in advance.

The latest Source Code trailer tries a different tactic and focuses foremost on expository dialogue that sets up the basic premise of the film, which is part Groundhog Day, part existential mind-bender.

Jones made a name for himself back in 2009 by releasing the acclaimed low-budget drama Moon, a philosophical sci-fi piece that recalls Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in terms of both its themes and style. However, whereas Moon was based on an original story by Jones, Source Code was scripted by Ben Ripley, a fellow whose previous writing credits include a little-seen TV movie titled The Watch and two direct-to-DVD sequels in the Species franchise.

On the other hand, the Source Code footage released so far has been fairly intriguing, and the film also boasts a solid cast of acting talents, including Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), and Jeffrey Wright (Syriana). If nothing else, perhaps Source Code will demonstrate that Ripley is simply a screenwriter who’s been waiting to actually work on something that doesn’t read like B-movie schlock on paper.

As for the plot of Source Code itself? Watch the trailer belowย and you’ll get the gist:

This new preview for Source Code (for me, at least) isn’t as effective as the previous trailers because of its more straight-to-the-point design. Allowing viewers to experience futuristic (and frankly mind-bending) technology and circumstances along with either the protagonist or one of the supporting characters onscreen (thank you, Inception) is useful for two important reasons:

  1. It provides a good excuse for the screenwriters to load a scene with necessary exposition without bogging down the film’s pacing.
  2. This allows time for those in the audience to better appreciate and contemplate the thought-provoking nature of the subject matter being presented.

Judging by the other Source Code clips so far, it fortunately seems that Gyllenhaal’s character is indeed not as well-versed at his job as this new trailer in part indicates. And yes, this is all nit-picking, but that’s what we’re here for, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Source Code arrives in theaters on (no joke) April 1st, 2011.