Rupert Wyatt works better with origin stories than with the post stories and sequels. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a great start for a simian trilogy that was finished vigorously and effectively by Matt Reeves when the studio thought Wyatt was botching the sequel. Reeves goes on to greatness while Wyatt goes back to directing tv episodes in the lower level of cable television hell.
Captive State set ten years after an alien invasion, like the second Apes, plays like Wyatt’s attempted revenge and comeback. It is a sci-fi political thriller that gets lost in big ideas, nice acting bits, its low budget and incoherence.
That is what happens when you hire good actors and provide them with third rate characters and motivation— mysterious dramatic fluff gets filmed. Cut the special effects budget also and any decent director will deliver inchoate stylized nonsense and a big dose of misdirection to keep any movie looking like a black hole of reality.
Wyatt will now go back to toiling in obscurity. Captive State will languish and die at the box office. The audience will not mourn it.
All photos courtesy of Focus Features.