Training capsule, space
- "I had to go. Space. The final frontier. Look at me; how could I turn it down?"
- ―Sam in his message to Earth
Capsule is a 2011 science-fiction film by Wingless Films, starring Tom Menary as the astronaut Sam, trapped aboard a capsule stranded in the depths of space, with only a talking computer ("Pod", voiced by Annie Knight) for company.
"Here am I, sitting in my tin can...."
Waking aboard his training capsule, Sam discovers he has been ejected from his flagship and stranded in the depths of space. Coming to terms with his situation is difficult, and Sam, accompanied by his protective onboard computer, "Pod", is forced to make a dire choice as his capsule drifts ever onwards through the cosmos.
- "I guess I'll keep drifting. Might make it to Earth in the end—might miss it completely. Who knows? No approach vector."
- ―Sam in his message to Earth.
Awaking aboard his training capsule, Sam questions Pod as to his current situation. He learns that he was knocked unconscious, and his mothership isn't showing up on his scopes. Forcing Pod to answer, Sam watches a recording taken by the capsule's external cameras, showing the mothership consumed by an explosion. Pod explains the ship suffered an engine failure, and Sam's capsule was launched as a fail-safe, with Sam sustaining a mild concussion during the eject sequence.
Realizing he has no way of returning to his fleet, Sam sets out to discover what options are open to him, checking the capsule's supplies and asking Pod how far from Earth they have been left. Pod's answers do little to console him: The capsule is too far out for the life-support systems to sustain the return journey. Exasperated, Sam suggests sending out a cry for help, though Pod warns there is no guarantee the message will reach Earth. Sam tries anyway, recording a heart-felt message for his family and Jenny before he is overcome with emotion and asks Pod to switch the recording off.
Some time later, Sam has set about attempting to boost the life-support by tinkering with the capsule's under-floor systems. Pod advises against this, trying to get Sam to complete his message, and is eventually left with no option but to induce a restful state in Sam, knocking him out for seven hours. When he awakes, Sam realizes a cut to his arm sustained during his repairs has healed, and accuses Pod of drugging him. Sam shouts at the dispassionate computer, but apologises, realizing the hopelessness of his situation.
Sam finishes his message, stating his hope that he will find a space anomaly that could deliver him back to Earth, or another dimension, though signs off with the conviction he will not see his loved ones again: "I love you, and I'm gonna miss you very much." Pod ejects the black box containing the message, and Sam watches it drift away, lost in thought. Pod inquires as to Sam's state of mind, though he has no answer to give. The capsule continues to tumble deeper into the void.
As a coda to the preceding events, the black box finds its way to Earth, having crash-landed in a remote area of countryside. Sam's message continues to play in fragments, his last words echoing and repeating.
- Creator/director; cinematographer; editor; visual effects artist .... Jim Elton
- Scriptwriter; editor; composer .... Tom Menary
- Model maker .... Rae Wetherill
- Additional music .... JAW
The screenplay for Capsule was written in December 2010, during production of Captive, Chapter Two, and a short sample was released online on 20th December, showcasing the scene where Sam attempts to repair the capsule against Pod's better judgement.
Production was conducted in January 2011, utilizing the greenscreen studio at the University of Plymouth as the interior of the titular capsule. "Day Two" of pre-production—12th January, 2011—saw the construction of the set using props in the studio, and a lighting test. At this time, Pod was conceived of only as "a little, pulsing (blue?) circle of light". Filming took place on 22nd January, and greenscreen shooting of the training capsule and the Weather-All was completed on 2nd February. The latter was a custom-built model spaceship lent to the production by design student Rae Wetherill.
The film's poster was released the day before the film itself, which was released in two parts on YouTube (a requirement dictated by the website's ten-minute limit on uploads at the time of release).
- Main article: Capsule (soundtrack)
Music demos were created from December 2010 onwards, with an early demo of the Theme from Capsule released online in the form of "The Spaceman" on 19th December. More demos and previews were released as production progressed, and the final, complete digital album was made available on 24th February. The album was uploaded to Last.fm on 14th March, 2011.
The film contains various references to popular culture, in particular David Bowie's Space Oddity. In addition to the premise of an astronaut lost in space, the unseen character of Jenny is an allusion to Major Tom's wife, who he "love[s] very much", in much the same way as Sam tells Jenny and his family he loves them and will miss them "very much". Further, many of the tracks on the score have titles with references to lyrics from the song, including "My Spaceship Knows Which Way to Go" and "She Knows". The title "Pretty Far Out" is a reference to a line from the Flight of the Conchords song Bowie, which pays tribute to songs such as Space Oddity.
Other references appear in lines spoken by Sam, with allusions to Disembodio, Star Trek HAL-9000, the Tin Man and the speaking clock. The character of Pod was inspired by HAL-9000, though Pod's caring nature is evidenced in its blue light, as opposed to the sinister red of HAL.