Here are the latest films in cinemas this week

A new sci-fi film’s political plot borders dangerously close to reality

captive state movie releasing in cinemas in abu dhabi

If movies allow us to escape reality, then no other genre arguably fits the bill better than science fiction. 

By using otherworldly elements – from extra-terrestrials and futuristic beings to flying cars – sci-fi is one big alternate universe. 

But is it merely fantasy? Not according to Tobias Buckell, author of the best-selling sci-fi book Halo: The Cole Protocol, who believes that sci-fi is an embellished but real reflection of the times.

“I think science fiction should engage with the future. That doesn’t mean predict it, though
that’s often the common perception,” he told nodecenter.com 

“We also warn about the future. Beg you not to go down a certain path. Warn incessantly about horrible possible futures. Wonder if a certain future would be interesting. Dream about a certain future.

Photo: Focus Features

“Quite often though, science fiction is really about us today, and by saying ‘if this goes on’ we are critiquing something based on a starting point that is here and now. By positing the future, we can then point to consequences and point a light further down the path.”

This logic weighs heavily on Captive State – the new sci-fi movie releasing across UAE theatres this Thursday 11th April.

In the film, alien invaders enslave the world’s governments under the pretence of unity. However, the aliens, referred to as ‘Legislators’, are stripping Earth of its resources, which is leading to drastic climate change.

To ensure control over humans, the aliens bestow power to a privileged few, causing disputes among humans. This anarchic environment leads a young man named Gabriel (Ashton Sanders) and a Chicago cop turned Legislator (John Goodman) to form an unlikely partnership and rebel against the system.

“It’s the ‘rage against the machine’ story,” director Rupert Wyatt told Inverse. “It’s about what it means to be under occupation, and the moral obligations or choices one has to make when they’re put in that place of compromise at the risk of family, career, livelihood. What is it that makes those who choose to take a stand? I’ve long been fascinated by that.”

Photo: Focus Features

While some surmised that it’s a reference to America’s current political climate, the film’s theme of corruption, revolt and devastation of our environment are being witnessed in all corners of the world. 

“I will say, [this film] is very much about our environment, our planet,” Wyatt noted. 

“The notion that protecting this planet, and not falling prey to the idea that big businesses and capitalism should pursue our interests, that is really important.”

And what better way to make a strong political and environmental statement than by using sci-fi to stir imagination and overstate the obvious in the context of a fictional universe?

“I like films that ask questions of our political times,” Wyatt pointed out.

“Sci-fi is great because it allows you to hold a mirror up to the society we live in, and at the same time, give a degree of separation that allows a very large audience to come at it from many perspectives. 

“I think that’s what makes it a relevant genre in today’s storytelling, and very useful to tell stories that ask pertinent questions about who we are.”

Also starring: Jonathan Majors, Vera Farmiga, Alan Ruck and Kevin Dunn
Rating: PG15

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Hellboy (15+)

Based on the comic book character of the same name, this dark superhero film follows the story of a half-human, half-demon creature who goes all out to stop the plan of an evil sorceress. 

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Dragged Across Concrete (18+)

Two police officers become entangled in the criminal underworld after they are suspended for assaulting a suspect. Starring Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Carpenter.

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A little girl and her former circus performer friend embark on a series of new adventures, with the sprightly Masha causing havoc in Bear’s usually peaceful life.

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