Tom Cruise stars in the upcoming sci-fi epic "Oblivion" from director Joseph Kosinski, and Universal has released a handful of featurettes that take us behind the scenes of the film. 

"Oblivion" takes place in the far-future after Earth has repelled an alien invasion, only to be rendered nearly uninhabitable in the fight. Cruise is among the few human scouts who scour the sourced planet looking for resources. One day, he uncovers a secret (or two) that threaten his superiors. 

Somewhat surprisingly, Kosinski -- who previously directed the CG-heavy "Tron Legacy" -- decided to go old school on "Oblivion," incorporating as many in-camera effects as possible. So far, the impressive results look more realistic than some other recent efforts. 

For the film's space station-like "Skytower," Kosinski and his crew built a significant portion of the actual construction, eschewing blue screen and CG where they could. In the first video (above), Cruise calls it "the most beautiful set I've ever shot on." 

Instead of a computer-generated background, they used a printed screen on which they projected images taken from a Maui volcano. The all in-camera visual effects recalls earlier sci-fi films and appears to lend the film a more immersive feeling.  

In the second video, we get a behind-the-scenes look at the film's two-person airship, known as "The Bubble." Production designer Darren Gilford, concept artist Daniel Simon, and art director Kevin Ishioka walk us through the building of the craft.

In addition to creating a full-scale version of the "Bubbleship," the crew also developed a version with just the cockpit on a gimble, in order to simulate flight (blue screened backgrounds were added in later, of course).

While Cruise is old hat at this type of effects and stunt work, co-star Olga Kurylenko was a little shakier when she first tried it out. 

Watch it here:

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Finally, Cruise, Kosinski and producer Dylan Clark plug the film in a brief featurette. 

Kosinksi calls "Oblivion" a "Daytime science fiction film" which often deviates from the dark, shadowy worlds -- and blackest space -- of many recent genre films. The trio also discuss talk up film's visual beauty which encompasses desolate landscapes and clean, sleek technological creations.

And if Tom Cruise says it's "epic," who are we to argue?

Watch it here:

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The film also stars Morgan FreemanAndrea Riseborough, Melissa Leo and Zoë Bell. 

"Oblivion" opens April 19.