This is a fight for our very existence.
The Creator is a 2023 epic science fiction action adventure film directed by Gareth Edwards, written by Gareth Edwards and Chris Weltz, produced by Regency Enterprises, eOne, New Regency, and Bad Dreams, and distributed by 20th Century Studios. It stars John David Washington and Madeleine Yuna Voyles.
"They're not people, Maya. They're not real." - Joshua Taylor
Ten years after artificial intelligence detonate a nuclear warhead in Los Angeles, the war between AI and humans is reaching its end. The humans are on the verge of winning, but the AI are developing a super weapon which Sergeant Joshua Taylor is tasked with tracking down and destroying...only to discover that the super weapon is in the form of a young girl.
The Creator was a disappointment.
But this is the positive section, so let's start with the good. This film looks pretty great. Recent sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero movies have just begun to look like crap. The CGI looks like a PlayStation 2 video game. The visual style is hideous. Nothing looks authentic and real. The Creator blends real locations and environments with some hidden CGI, which makes it look incredible. It doesn't feel like a cheap, studio-churned mess. It feels like a director executing his vision with a great visual flair.
I also think The Creator has some really interesting sci-fi ideas brought up in the mix. There are different concepts about artificial intelligence and how different factions of people would react to a war between AI and humans. There are clear influences from other classic sci-fi movies like Blade Runner and The Matrix and Star Wars, but I also loved that it included influences from films like Apocalypse Now that aren't sci-fi.
I also thought the character of Alphie was really charming and fun. She is this all-powerful AI that has the power to destroy humanity, but she has the naivety of a child. Madeleine Yuna Voyles, the actress who portrays Alphie, does a great job of being incredibly funny at times, but also giving a relatively emotional performance. She is great. I hope to see her more in the future.
I appreciate this movie for trying something new. In a year dominated by studio-produced garbage like Quantumania and The Flash and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, I love that we are able to get a big studio producing a completely original sci-fi concept. I want this movie to do well.
But I didn't really like it.
The Creator is an incredibly surface-level experience. It has beautiful visuals, but story-wise, this movie is an utter disaster. The story is overly convoluted. It cycles through ensemble characters that aren't memorable at all. Our two leads, while fun, don't really have clear motivations. This movie can't decide what it wants to be. It feels like the writers had ideas for, like, four movies and decided to clump them all into one.
One of the most frustrating things about The Creator is the characters. John David Washington and the little girl are our two main characters. They are traveling across the world, so, naturally, they bump into a lot of different people along the way. None of the side characters are memorable. There are multiple death scenes where the movie tries to be emotional, but it just falls flat, because the character that's dying was introduced five minutes before.
The Creator feels like the writers wrote it very much from the perspective of someone who has developed out the lore of this world that isn't present in the movie. It feels like the writers had a bunch of background information that isn't in the movie but is important for the audience to understand this world. It makes it a very difficult movie to follow, and it just gets annoying at points.
Everything about this movie feels underdeveloped. There's so many things going on all at once, and none of them are given the proper amount of time to be consumed by the audience. That applies to the characters. That applies to the story. The movie moves faster than the audience, so you're constantly trying to catch up as new things are introduced. It's such a frustrating experience.
This movie also does a horrible job with its reveals. Normally, when you reveal something in a movie, you want to put emphasis on it. You want to make sure that the audience understands that what was just revealed is a vital piece of information. The Creator will have these massive reveals that are not done in any interesting way. Characters will just reveal these things in random lines of dialogue or the movie will just cut to a shot that reveals this key piece of information. It made the film feel dull.
And that's what this comes down to. The Creator is a dull film. It has a bunch of interesting ideas and it looks pretty, but it lacks substance. The emotions are lacking. The characters are lacking. The story is a complete mess. Every time it seems like there will be some character or story development, it's replaced with explosions. I don't get how other people see a new sci-fi masterpiece in here. All I see is a muddled sci-fi mess.
Final Thoughts and Score
I love that we have a new original sci-fi film, but The Creator is a dull, lackluster film that feels like it's missing a soul.
I am going Sour here. Age range is 8+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
Fun Factor: 5.5/10
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, language, disturbing themes and images, thematic elements
Released on September 29, 2023
2 hours and 15 minutes
John David Washington as Sergeant Joshua Taylor
Madeleine Yuna Voyles as Alphie
Gemma Chan as Maya
Ken Watanabe as Harun
Sturgill Simpson as Drew
Allison Janey as Colonel Howell
Ralph Ineson as General Andrews