The fear of Artificial Intelligence is a prevalent subject in today’s world. AI has also proved to be a fertile ground for the science fiction genre, with its fantastical and nightmarish applications explored by many talented artists over the years. The term ‘visionary director’ has been used a lot in cinema, but in the case of Gareth Edwards it’s certainly fitting. After his ground-breaking debut with ‘Monsters’ in 2010, via ‘Star Wars’ epic ‘Rogue One’, and through to his latest effort ‘The Creator’, Edwards has always given his cinematic visions a palpable life of its own. ‘The Creator’ delivers yet another sumptuous-looking film that impresses in every frame. The story, whilst engaging, doesn’t stay with you as long as the lingering visuals do, but ‘The Creator’ still warrants your time and attention.
In the not-too-distant future, an Artificial Intelligence-led nuclear attack on Los Angeles leaves millions of humans dead. Realising the active threat AI poses to the very fabric of our ongoing existence, the West wages war on all AI, however not everywhere on the planet agrees with this approach. In New Asia, AI lives harmoniously with humankind, and it’s there that a rumoured new ‘weapon’ is being harboured. Joshua (John David Washington), a former military man, is tasked with helping a covert mission to locate and destroy this threat, but when the AI is revealed to be a child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), Joshua must wrestle will mixed emotions, including a link to his traumatic past.
The ensemble of ‘The Creator’ is impressive, with John David Washington once again spearheading a bold and ambitious science fiction epic with authority and undeniable screen presence (especially after his turn in Christopher Nolan’s polarising ‘Tenet’). Washington’s Joshua shares a believable chemistry with Gemma Chan’s character Maya. Chan gives an effortless grace and poise to every project she’s in. Young Madeleine Yuna Voyles is impressive as Alphie, the AI that could spark the end of the world. It’s nice to see Allison Janney steal her scenes as Colonel Howell, a dogged military officer on the trail of Joshua, and even Finch from ‘The Office’ aka Ralph Ineson pops up as a army general looking for Joshua’s help in defeating AI for good. The legendary Ken Watanabe is also a big highlight as Harun.
‘The Creator’ is truly a labour of love for Gareth Edwards, and you can see that in every frame on the big screen. His vision lends itself perfectly to big-format cinema, with IMAX screens certainly the best way to fully immerse yourself in this fantastical world. The film is gorgeously rendered and offers a beautiful study into the marriage of man and machine in the not-too-distant future. In a world where we are used to seeing impressive visions of futuristic existences from the likes of ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Terminator 2’, ‘Robocop’, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Minority Report’, ‘The Creator’ manages to deliver that awe-factor to its visuals, keeping the viewer utterly enchanted by the feast laid out in front of their eyes.
The story of ‘The Creator’ isn’t as fresh or ground-breaking as it would like itself to be though, with audiences having already seen this type of narrative played out many times before, most recently in ‘Avatar’ – essentially a hero infiltrates a native species, but soon learns to love them and their plight before rampant corporatism and military action come knocking. ‘The Creator’ basically follows along similar lines, but it does so with its own panache.
A tad too long, and with a second act that loses the impressive momentum built from the film’s brilliant opening sequences, ‘The Creator’ is still a rewarding watch. It’s nice that big subjects like AI taking over our world are explored, and even better that the machinations of a potential AI treat is weighed up against human error and our own insecurities. ‘The Creator’ offers up a lot of interesting questions about where we, as a civilisation, are heading in the future, and the role technology has to play in not only our day-to-day lives, but on the bigger subjects of existence and purpose. ‘The Creator’ is an engaging sci-fi with an impressive visual style and lots of emotional weight, that holds your attention throughout.
Cast: John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Allison Janney, Ken Watanabe, Ralph Ineson, Sturgill Simpson, Veronica Ngo Director: Gareth Edwards Writer: Gareth Edwards, Chris Weitz Certificate: 12A Duration: 133 mins Released by: Disney Release date: 28th September 2023