“By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.” - Eliezer Yudkowsky
While limited in the number of films he’s helmed, Gareth Edwards is proving himself to be a unique voice in the veritable sea of sequels and remakes. Even with already established franchises like Godzilla or Star Wars, his projects set within these universes are without question the most distinctive and original. Arguably Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie of any of the modern releases. Knowing this and hearing of an impending original sci-fi written and directed by Edwards was certainly enticing. And now we find ourselves less than a week away from the release of The Creator. With the exception of Monsters (2010) this is his first original creation, at least in the last ten years. It’s certainly an exciting prospect.
A rising star in Hollyweird, with maybe a bit of nepotism, talented in his own right, John David Washington stars in The Creator as Joshua. So often I hear about how much he resembles his father both in looks but especially in mannerisms and voice. Not that I haven’t noticed it before, it’s never been more apparent to me than with his performance in The Creator. I can hear his father in his voice absolutely but it’s more about the power of Denzel’s presence becoming greater with each new performance by John. Whenever Denzel is on screen he commands it, he embodies the very definition of leading man. I believe we are seeing that becoming more of a reality with his son. As Joshua he is as impressive as ever, emoting strength when needed but never shying away from the moments when a child brings him to tears as well as his knees. His vulnerability when he mourns the loss of a loved one is equally as strong as when he’s pushing forward in the middle of a battlefield, guns firing overhead. The talents of his father seem to run deep. Needless to say it’s a privilege to watch him grow into his own as a skilled actor.
The Creator is a timely allegory about the fears of Artificial Intelligence and what our future as a species might look like when technology and humanity begin to seamlessly combine. To create a vision that is not just of the future but reminiscent of our current era, the story takes the misunderstood, the mistreated groups of the human race seen as either less or simply as a threat and gives it a science fiction spin. It has themes of racism and xenophobia but rather than Black Lives Matter and its allies combating the ignorance of racist shitbags or foreigners trying to find asylum in America facing blind hatred from the same hateful groups, in The Creator, humans are battling technology, ironically another issue created entirely by mankind.
Joshua is a man seemingly without a home to call his own. He’s undercover and trying to out the mastermind of an artificially intelligent advocate and creator whose assassination would turn the tides of a war between man and machine. As he grows closer to a human ally of the machines, his allegiances begin to alter, changing even his deepest held beliefs. As tragedy destroys him he questions the validity of taking part in a war he no longer believes in. That is until a facet of the war he never expected comes to haunt him and could potentially force his presence in the ultimate fate of man and sentient machine. For years he convinced himself it’s “just programming” but in facing his new reality he may be convinced otherwise.
Seeing the beauty of properly executed computer generated imagery is something special. With a budget of only $80 million it’s a wonder to see just how gorgeous The Creator truly is. To put it into perspective, Avatar: The Way of Water had a budget of more than $350 million and took a decade plus to get it made and released in theaters. Granted there were extenuating circumstances with its production. As gorgeous as that movie is, The Creator manages to create a modernist view of our future planet and what we as its inhabitants look like and how we live within it on a fraction of the money. It’s an impressive feat when you see how perfectly the CGI and in-camera environment and people combine into a singular vision.
If I’m honest I was hoping The Creator would be a groundbreaking, once-in-a-generation kind of sci-fi and it simply isn’t. But I see this as more of a me problem than anything to do with the actual film. This doesn’t mean though that The Creator is anything less than a fantastic movie that should absolutely be seen on the big screen. It brings with the strong visuals a compelling story that features tremendous performances from its eclectic cast, both human and machine alike. Along with Washington, special attention must be given to Madeleine Yuna Voyles, another child actor with so much potential. Her performance is stellar and ultimately proves to be the heart of the movie. In the age of sequels and remakes, movies like The Creator need to be seen, if for no other reason than to let the studios know we truly want original content.
Rated PG-13 For: violence, some bloody images and strong language
Runtime: 133 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Drama
Starring: John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Allison Janney
Directed By: Gareth Edwards
Out of 10
Story: 9/ Acting: 9/ Directing: 9/ Visuals: 10
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below: