Just because your movie is about the aftermath of an alien invasion doesn’t mean you ignore the alien invasion. In fact, Captive State co-writer and director Rupert Wyatt has a very, very clear idea of how the off-screen alien invasion before the events of his film went down.
It mirrors how he believes an invasion could happen in real life and is also a prime example of how his film is built with great ideas on-screen, as well as off.
Speaking to us, Wyatt posed the question, “If an invasion happened today, would we be acutely aware of their impending arrival?” He then proceeded to answer.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “We’d probably be focused on other news feeds. Our own kind of popular culture or politics, and maybe at the very end of the news reports would be some kind of unidentified object that people are extrapolating over what it is.”
Really though, when a UFO is casually mentioned in the news, does anyone actually think about the life or death implications, if it turned out to be actual aliens?
“No one really pays attention to [those reports],” Wyatt continues. “So that to me was ‘OK. They can certainly create a fleet, an invasion fleet, and we wouldn’t be much the wiser.’”
From there, Wyatt thinks humanity’s general fear and ignorance would be the primary weaknesses aliens would exploit to take over. And, to reiterate, this isn’t in Captive State. It’s just the level of detail he and his co-writer Erica Beeney put into thinking about what probably happened before events of the movie.
They would do something quite clever, potentially, [by] shutting down our power grids. They would create mass blackouts and those blackouts would start locally. They’d spread and they would become statewide, nationwide, global.
And of course we would assume: Terrorist attack, cyber attack, another country. And before we even pinpointed the enemy, we’d start turning on ourselves. We’d start looting, food shortages and traffic jams. Then, of course, they start making landings in rural areas, where we get the first sightings and before we knew it they’d be surrounding cities. There’s a whole movie!
If this hypothetical prequel to his movie sounds plausible, that’s exactly the point. Captive State is very much a cautionary tale about modern sociopolitical struggles. It then masks that a bit with impossible sci-fi ideas such as organic tracking devices, intelligent alien drones and off-world deportation.
These gadgets and concepts are another area in which not everything Wyatt and his team created made it into the movie. And actually, one of Wyatt’s favourite creations was cut entirely.
In the scene, a human character invaded a closed off alien area and came out with bad radiation burns all over his body. He then went to a local fence for help. (We’re being vague because the specifics are a spoiler.) Then, once he got there...
“[The fence] pulls out of her fish tank a little vial of sort of unidentified... they look like fruit flies,” Wyatt said.
“But they make this sort of magnetic sound when they hit the side of the glass vial. He swallows it and it eradicates all of his radiation burns. It’s a kind of like alien medicine. I always loved that little detail. We decided to cut it because there were too many stories going on.”
Yes, there are a lot of stories going on in Captive State. So many, in fact, that things like alien medicine and a clinical, realistic alien invasion are not in the movie. While a lot of interesting concepts weren’t able to make it into the movie, what is in there is pretty damn fascinating.
Captive State will arrive in Australian cinemas some time this year.
The most intriguing thing about Rupert Wyatt’s new film, Captive State, is that unlike most sci-fi films, it picks up after an alien invasion. It’s the story of a world where aliens invaded, humanity lost, and now they are our rulers. Of course, in that scenario, some people would want to rise up and fight the oppressors.