Director Gareth Edwards returns to sci-fi with an epic original film that stars Gemma Chan and John David Washington. It is a life film that needs to be seen on an IMAX screen to appreciate the sheer grandeur of this film’s design. Edwards and Chris Weitz co-wrote the story, and is a sharp commentary on the role of artificial intelligence and the delicate balance that our society currently faces with it being introduced into our society at this time. Two incredible performances from Allison Janney and Madeleine Yuna Voyles make The Creator one of the best films of 2023 and Edward’s best film to date.
Every frame of this film is dripping with Edward’s sci-fi influence. The design of the A.I robots are incredibly distinct with Chappie-esque heads and individual personalities that help sell the idea that this version of AI is unique, advanced and can feel and sound like they have feelings. Something that a scene in this movie really drives home with a clean-up crew showing the attempts to purge the robots from the USA after a nuclear bomb is seemingly set off in Los Angeles. Not everyone subscribes to this, and the rest of the world keeps A.I around, while the USA create a weapon called Nomad, a foreboding ship that hovers in the sky, dropping missiles on any target that threatens the advancement of A.I.
It’s from here we dive head into the central point of this story. A rumoured weapon that will make A.I so advanced, it can’t be eliminated. The hunt for this is led by operative Howell (Allison Janney) who enlists the help of retired US Army Forces undercover officer Josh (John David Washington) who must retrieve the weapon and destroy it. The obstacle is, that the weapon turns out to be a child Alphie (Madeliene Yuna Voyles) who can wield and control “the force” of things around him. As the two travel together while Josh figures out if A.I is the enemy that the government have made them out to be.
The story feels very familiar, clearly inspired by decades of lore from franchises like Star Wars, Blade Runner and District 9.On the flip side, it is grounded by some truly spectacular performances, in particular from Janney and Voyles. The world itself is completely realised, feeling lived in making it jump out from the screen.
Movies of this epic scale in similar CGI-heavy films like the Marvel franchise have their moments where things just don’t look right. Having too much CGI can be a distraction and looks terrible on screen. Fortunately, The Creator is an example of the complete opposite, it carries a much lower budget than these films and the special effects make it look better than any Marvel movie ever made. The A.I blend in with the environments seamlessly, the Nomad’s targeting system that beams down blue light onto its targets builds some incredible tension.
It’s a shame that Washington delivered an extremely flat performance. Trying to buy him as a caring and loving partner just doesn’t fit the bill here. While not quite as wooden as his Protagonist character in Tenet, there is little connection made with his lead character that is meant to carry the film.
Through it all, the question posed to us from the story is. Is A.I. a good thing or a bad thing? It doesn’t present any answers or finality in its views. Will it outgrow its dependence on human programming and see itself as enslaved to do our bidding? These are all fantastic questions to ponder and stay with you long after the film has finished.
If you are going to see this movie, I really encourage you to select a premium screen, preferably IMAX. Seeing this at Melbourne IMAX was truly spectacular. This world deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
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