The Creator

The Creator

Disney+ Film
Watch Now
6.8

Fair

In a dystopian future with war between humans and AI, Joshua, an ex-special forces agent is recruited to hunt down and kill The Creator of a weapon that can end mankind.

Science fiction has always been fascinated with the concept of artificial intelligence and what threat it may pose to humanity.

The angle at which the threat comes from has varied over the years. Indifference logic that leads to extermination? Uncanny valley replacement fear? Human battery farms? As the nature of A.I. morphs, so does the subconscious ick.

The Creator doesn’t go super modern. There aren’t multi-fingered artworks, or seven novel dystopian YA franchises authored by Writing Bot GPT to worry about.


Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Star Wars: Rogue One) takes a more traditional approach: all out war.

What Is The Creator About?

In an alt version of history, A.I. has developed enough for everyday robotics and human replicating ‘synths’ to be a normal walk of life.

That is until a nuclear weapon detonates in Los Angeles and sparks a U.S. policy of A.I. extermination, both internally and abroad.

As shown in his previous Hollywood movies, Edwards is masterful at creating a sense of gravity with his action scenes.

As the U.S. takes the fight to New Asia, where A.I. are otherwise treated as equals, it deploys the purpose built sub orbital NOMAD system to rain down destruction from the sky.

This looming bird of death is felt with as much terror as the presence of any Death Star.

The ‘real world feel’ is prevalent all throughout The Creator. The land of New Asia is delivered primarily through location filming in Thailand with sweeping wide aspect shots, lively villages, and bustling cities.

When the overpowered American military machine comes rolling in the devastation is tangible. That Edwards achieved such an effect on a relatively meagre $80 million budget must be a wake up call to those falling foul of Hollywood green screen bloat.

Ironically, the human element is lacking. After his unsuccessful undercover operation five years earlier to locate the mysterious chief A.I. architect ‘Nirmata’ (which led to the death of his pregnant wife (Gemma Chan)), Sergeant Joshua Taylor (John David Washington) is sent behind enemy lines with a team tasked on destruction of a reported new A.I. weapon, the ‘Alpha Omega’.

Matters are complicated when that weapon turns out to be a disturbingly lifelike Synth child, dubbed ‘Alphie’ (Madeleine Yuna Voyles).

Such story elements are common, with the attachment between the pair clearly intended to grow their characters and invest us emotionally.

Sadly, it is this part that struggles to ignite a spark for far too long.

Washington’s wounded determinism puts him in more comfortable ground than his amorphous Tenet character while Yoyles’ puzzling through complicated nuance of the human psyche is excellent for such a young performer.

The problem isn’t in the actors. The problem is that the second act fails to spend its scenes incrementally growing them closer together. Instead it audibly switches gear after a rather clunky info-dump.

The Creator Official Trailer

Is The Creator Worth Watching?

Aping movies like Apocalypse Now more than A.I., The Creator struggles to fill its palpable world with characters to emotionally engage with; the large body count (both organic and mechanical) treated with desensitising coldness.

The result is a movie that forgoes the intellectual possibilities of humanity vs sentient A.I. to instead angle for a simplistic message of fear of the other.

Despite the wonderfully distinctive art direction both for the C3PO-esque creations and almost human synths, these could have been swapped out for an entirely human ‘threat’ with little to no effect on the plot.

Which is not to say the The Creator is not an enjoyable sci-fi action movie. Allison Janney’s turn as a Colonel in dogged pursuit of Joshua and Alphie, and Ken Watanabe’s performance as a stoic Synth soldier both fill in a good dose of colour.

The world is always teeming with all walks of life to enjoy with all due jaw dropping scale.

The Creator swings in as a big original IP full of its own possibility.

It may struggle to effectively realise it, but the result is still superior to the standard Hollywood cookie cutter fare that may as well be spat out by generative text algorithms.

Enjoy humanity’s efforts, with all its flaws.

Words by Mike Record

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Good

  • Amazing Weight Of World
  • Solid Action
  • Distinctive Visuals

Bad

  • Shallow Emotional Connection
  • Narrow Point Of Focus
  • The A.I. Is A Backdrop More Than A Theme
6.8

Fair

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