The Creator is one of those movies that, the moment I finished watching it, I immediately felt compelled to start talking/writing about it.
That’s not to say this is an instant sci-fi masterpiece, or something that dramatic. It didn’t take my breath away the same way that Blade Runner 2049 or Dune: Part I did. However, until the lights dimmed and the movie started, I didn’t appreciate just how hungry I was for some original sci-fi storytelling set in a world that felt real and lived-in, captured by gorgeous cinematography.
The story was created by Gareth Edwards, who is perhaps best known for his work on Star Wars: Rogue One. For those who haven’t seen the trailer for his latest film, here’s a quick, spoiler-free summary: The Creator is set in Earth’s near future, after the detonation of a nuclear bomb destroys Los Angeles. Humans are at war with A.I., fighting for their survival against the rapidly advancing technology.
Joshua Taylor (John David Washington) is tasked with destroying a new A.I. super weapon. Only, this super weapon turns out to inhabit an entirely different form than Taylor is anticipating, causing him to question everything he thinks he knows about the A.I. and himself.
I’m hesitant to describe the plot in more depth than that, because I’m not sure what’s a spoiler and what’s not. (There were some surprises in the film that the trailer didn’t seem to hint at, and I don’t want to give those twists and turns away.)
The strength of this movie lies in its world building and its breathtaking visuals. Seriously folks, I could not believe it when I looked up the budget for this film and saw it only cost $80 million. It looks more realistic than many other far more expensive movies I’ve seen recently. This movie is a master class in how to use CGI and practical effects/sets in tandem to create a world that feels real. I could totally buy this as a possible future for humanity.
I also enjoy John David Washington (son of the famous Denzel Washington, one of my favorite actors) as an action lead. I also loved him in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, and if he ends up carving out a space for himself as the go-to guy for sci-fi/action films, you won’t find me complaining.
Where I have seen some criticism regarding this film is that it doesn’t explore the relationship between humanity and A.I. as deeply as it could have. It’s not an unfair complaint, although I did enjoy the movie for what it was. Gareth Edwards is not yet a Denis Villeneuve or a Christopher Nolan, where the story is equally as breathtaking as the visuals on screen.
I will get into a few spoilers here, so please skip the following paragraph if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to know any details:
I wasn’t anticipating the A.I. to be benevolent, and the humans to be the actual villains of this tale. It’s an interesting concept, but maybe not the best timing considering the recent concerns in Hollywood about A.I. and its impact on actors and scriptwriters. I don’t think Gareth Edwards is intending to make any sort of commentary about that in his film; I think the heart of the story is a simple, timeless theme about the power of kindness, love, and compassion vs. fear, anger, and violence. Still, with all the conversations going on re: the role of A.I. in our modern world, maybe there was room for more nuance and discussion here?
In short, if you’re looking for some interesting sci-fi on the big screen, The Creator is worth checking out, especially since as consumers of media we vote with our dollars and if we want to see more original storytelling, we need to support it.
I’ve already talked about recently how I’ve personally been experiencing some franchise fatigue and was wanting a break to explore other content. The Creator was exactly the type of content I’d been wanting/needing, and I’m also looking forward to Zack Snyder’s upcoming sci-fi original Rebel Moon over on Netflix.