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The Creator (2023) - Movie Review

Movies & TV

By Taylor J.

- Oct 5, 2023

Gareth Edwards, the visionary behind “The Creator,” forged his path in filmmaking with a focus on Visual Effects. He introduces groundbreaking techniques for creating CG creatures in “Monsters” and scaling heights with major blockbusters like “Godzilla.” However, his forte seemed to lie in the technical aspects. He often overlooks the human connection in his narratives, with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” as a notable exception.

“The Creator” paints a futuristic scenario where the U.S. Army finds itself embroiled in a second confrontation in Vietnam, this time over the rise of Artificial Intelligence. The plot exploits the societal unease surrounding AI, which is prevalent in contemporary discussions. The depiction of Vietnam, however, comes across as less innovative and potentially controversial, portraying images reminiscent of historical conflicts.

John David Washington stars as Joshua, an undercover Army agent assigned to find and eradicate a sophisticated AI weapon unexpectedly discovered in the form of a six-year-old girl, Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles). Joshua’s mission morphs into a protective one, navigating Alphie through the hazards to the U.S.S. Nomad, a flying fortress sanctioning attacks on Asian territories.

The emotional essence of “The Creator” predominantly hinges on Joshua’s often one-dimensional anger. It attempts to weave in themes from various sci-fi narratives but does not quite hit the mark. Alphie, the learning robot, doesn’t mirror the technological advancement one would anticipate in a 2065 setting.

A prologue newsreel lays out the backdrop of a world where AI dominates until an atomic catastrophe in Los Angeles results in the prohibition of AI technology in the West. Ten years after these events, Joshua, a loyal soldier, engages in AI eradication missions. He concentrates on Asian territories portrayed with stereotypical environments.

A subplot involves Joshua’s presumed dead spouse, Maya (Gemma Chan), a robotics expert, resurrecting when Joshua is informed she might be alive, igniting a journey to find her. Joshua’s journey brings him face-to-face with Alphie. This forces him to reconsider his stance on AI entities as sentient beings, transcending his binary view of robots.

Edwards’ specialty in enhancing real-world backdrops with spectacular visual effects is evident in “The Creator.” This provides a captivating, realistic visual experience. However, the integration of human features in robots, including Alphie, appears unconvincing. Furthermore, it reduces the impact of lifelike expressions and reveals artificial augmentations.

Alphie, conceptualized as Maya’s extraordinary “child,” isn’t portrayed as a weapon but rather as a potent EMP. The clarity regarding her abilities is elusive, and certain scenes seem to dip into cultural appropriation, diminishing the serious undertone of the narrative. When the story ascends to a secluded monk’s haven termed “heaven,” the audience may find it hard to maintain a serious engagement with the film.

“The Creator” grapples with its foundational premise, portraying a world opposing AI while simultaneously depicting extensive use of AI technologies by the U.S. Army. Joshua, himself, utilizes prosthetic robotic limbs, symbolizing the intertwined fate of humanity and AI.

The film’s apparent contradictions and narrative holes are overshadowed by the overarching revelation of AI’s innocence and humanity's destructive nature. In this depiction, robots symbolize peace, and humans, blinded by aggression, fail to recognize the essence within their adversaries.

Edwards, despite the exceptional visual realism, seems to struggle in portraying lifelike robots, leaving audiences deciphering the artificial elements of human-faced robots. The film’s portrayal of Alphie, particularly her undefined abilities and cultural representations, could potentially draw criticism.

“The Creator” falls short in its attempt to mesh diverse sci-fi elements and emotional undercurrents, remaining entangled in its own paradoxes and superficial representations. As the narrative unfolds, the movie requires the audience to overlook its inconsistencies and immerse in the visual spectacle it offers, raising questions on the real and the artificial in a world teetering on the brink of technological singularity.


6 / 10

Gareth Edwards, the visionary behind “The Creator,” forged his path in filmmaking with a focus on Visual Effects.