The Creator Review

Friday 29 September 2023

Plot: Against the backdrop of a war between humans and robots with artificial intelligence, a former soldier finds the secret weapon, a robot in the form of a young child.

Film: The Creator

Director: Gareth Edwards

Writers: Gareth Edwards, Chris Weitz

Starring: John David Washington, Madeiline Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan

Set in an alternate history timeline in a world where AI advancements were always at the forefront of technology, The Creator is about the war between human and AI following a nuclear attack. In a film described as a combination of Apocalypse Now meets Blade Runner, this sci-fi/war epic sees the US, who have outlawed the technology, leading the charge against New Asia where AI and humans are trying to freely coexist. 

This was magnificent. It’s been so long since I’ve been so captured by the worldbuilding in a science fiction film and with AI being as prevalent a topic in modern day life as it is, this felt like the perfect subject matter and asking the all-important question; should we be creating something with intelligence and freewill, if we only wish to control it? Creating an alternate history allowed Gareth Edwards to create a world that is simultaneously reminiscent enough of ours to make this a believable future, but different in a way that gave him the freedom to be creative with the development timeline of AI. 

Speaking of the worldbuilding, everything about The Creator was beautiful from the visuals to the score, has Hans Zimmer ever let us down? That’s obviously a trick question. There’s one track in particular ‘She’s Not Real’ that I urge you to go and listen to, it’s the song I keep replaying while writing this review and it’s so beautiful. This is one of those films that I would insist you watch on the big screen, especially an IMAX or equivalent, to really make the most of the landscapes and locations. 

As well as being a visual spectacle, the acting in this film was top-notch. John David Washington as Joshua and Madeleine Yuna Voyles as the AI known as Alphie, are an unlikely but very endearing on screen duo and it’s their developing trust in one another that guides the plot. One of my favourite performances though comes from another AI Harun (Ken Watanabe), who is very protective over Alphie and struggles to trust American Soldier Joshua, it’s his character I feel best showcases the realness of the artificial beings. A lot of the AI have human likeness, like Harun, but another incredible ‘performance’ comes from an AI droid who stops fleeing a missile because it would harm children if he continued and those were the first of many tears I shed during the film. That’s the power visual effects can have when done right.

This is a very emotionally powerful film. As with many war classics, the loss of life is on grand scale and at times graphic, the threat feels real and had my stomach turning, especially the scene where an American soldier points a gun at a civilian child and her dog, can’t take a trip to while in the cinema. For what is actually quite short for a big budget film in today’s climate, I felt sensitively drained by the end and definitely needed the car ride home to fully digest what I had seen. That being said, I still think I could have sat through another hour, I would be keen for a director’s cut should it exist, the main conflict between the US Army and the village where they track Joshua and Alphie to, felt like it could have been longer but that would be my only real criticism of the film. I simply wanted more. 

The Creator is a welcome addition to the Sci-Fi genre and exactly what cinema is made for and if you don’t get out to see many more films this year, make sure this is one of them. 

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