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Film: "The Creator"
Director Gareth Edwards offers a unique entry to the science fiction genre with his new film “The Creator.” In this timely film, topics of humanity and artificial intelligence are explored.
In my opinion, science fiction is one of the coolest and most creative genres in cinema.
Over the years, many incredible films have been released across sci-fi’s many subgenres. We’ve seen mind-boggling, conceptually complex blockbusters like Inception and Tenet; contemplative, existential films like “Blade Runner” and “Ad Astra”; grand, epic space operas like the Star Wars saga and “Dune”; and more futuristic, action-heavy movies like “Edge of Tomorrow” and “District 9.” It’s a broad genre with a plethora of stories to tell, and I’m always excited to see what boundaries can be pushed within its limits.
Now, in 2023, director Gareth Edwards offers another unique entry to the genre with his new film “The Creator.” “The Creator” takes place in a distant future where humanity is at war with artificial intelligence (A.I.). The film tells the story of a soldier named Joshua (John David Washington) tasked with finding and destroying an all-powerful weapon in the possession of the A.I.
However, when he discovers that this weapon takes the physical form of a young child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), he is sent on an emotional journey that challenges all he believes to be true.
Technically speaking, “The Creator” is a beautiful film. From start to finish, the visual effects are nothing short of enrapturing. There isn’t a single shot in this movie that features fake-looking or noticeable CGI, and Edwards’ decision to create visuals primarily through in-camera effects has a tremendous impact on the movie’s overall look, especially during action sequences.
The movie’s design is beautifully and creatively crafted. The technology, weapons, and robots look incredibly authentic, and it’s clear that the creative team responsible for bringing them to life onscreen put a lot of thought into making everything look as realistic as possible – so much so that I could see a lot of these designs becoming reality one day.
John David Washington has been on an incredible hit streak in his performances; in “The Creator,” he keeps that streak alive. Washington plays a character with immense emotional baggage, and I think he does a tremendous job of portraying Joshua’s commitment, pain, and stoicism. However, first-time actor Madeleine Yuna Voyles steals the show as A.I. weapon Alpha-O, or “Alphie.” She portrays Alphie with a natural sense of childlike innocence, but also a surprising amount of gravity, particularly in the film’s heavier, more emotional moments.
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However, one area where I think “The Creator” completely drops the ball is in its subtext. It makes a flimsy attempt to explore themes of acceptance and the nature of humanity in relation to artificial intelligence, but this exploration is touch-and-go. The movie only seems to remember its purpose when it needs an emotional beat. This choice causes the film to lose a lot of its thematic potency.
Furthermore, I think the movie fails to offer a nuanced take on artificial intelligence. “The Creator” throws aside any sense of real depth, instead opting to present oversimplified scenarios: the worst of what humanity has to offer, and the best of what A.I. does. I don’t think that’s a well-rounded way to look at the topic.
According to Edwards, much of the film’s original material was removed in the editing process. Somewhere, a much longer – five hours, to be precise – cut of “The Creator” exists. If it ever sees the light of day, I would absolutely check it out. I have a feeling that the extra material would help flesh out the film’s thematic aim and fix a lot of the issues I saw with it.
As it stands, I wouldn’t say the version of “The Creator” that we got is a bad one. I just wish it leaned further into its attempt at incorporating its heavier themes, in a way that felt less muddled and incomplete and more developed and consistent.Thanks for reading Blue & Gold Media at Mississippi College! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.