The Creator Review
The Creator (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Gareth Edwards, written by Chris Weitz and Gareth Edwards and starring John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Allison Janney, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, Amar Chadha-Patel, Marc Menchaca, Robbie Tann, Ralph Ineson, Michael Esper, Veronica Ngo, Ian Verdun, Daniel Ray Rodriguez, Rad Pereira, Syd Skidmore and Karen Aldridge.
Gareth Edwards’ new film, The Creator, showcases a powerful and complex science fiction story line which feels very timely given the current artificial intelligence wave that has taken the world by storm. In this new movie, John David Washington plays a soldier named Joshua who bonds with an AI known as Alphie (masterfully played by Madeleine Yuna Voyles). This film was once titled True Love early in its production stages and it’s still easy to apply that title to the themes found in the picture about romantic love and the strong tie that could develop in the future between people and robots. In 1999’s thematically different, Bicentennial Man, these ideas seemed to take flight and, now, an action movie uses the concept of seeing humanity in artificial intelligence.
Set mostly in 2065 some 10 years after Los Angeles endured a bomb that led it to becoming Ground Zero, Joshua has lost limbs but remains courageous and determined in the tasks he takes on. America is waging a war on Artificial Intelligence and Joshua locates a secret weapon which actually takes the form of a young girl who is called Alphie. There is great significance to the plot in terms of how Alphie came to be.
Joshua was once married to a pregnant genius named Maya (a perfectly cast Gemma Chan) and the movie establishes the connection between them early on through intriguing romantic chemistry between the pair. True Love could easily be the title of their story which faces tragic circumstances that pull the rug out from under Joshua’s very existence.
Allison Janney is actually fantastic in a different role for the dramatic actress. She portrays Colonel Howell who becomes the central villain of the story as the plot progresses. What the film does exceptionally well is develop the supporting characters like the one Janney plays so that they don’t feel one-dimensional. Janney adds surprising tension to the plot through a fierce performance that is one of the most unique characterizations she has displayed on screen recently. The great Ken Watanabe also has a decent sized role that plays a pivotal part in the action as Joshua and Alphie go AWOL from the initial plan set in place in an attempt to find out the truth about Maya’s true fate. Watanabe plays Harun, the pursuer, with the actor’s typical dedication and commitment.
But, the heart of the film lies in the scenes between John David Washington and Madeleine Yuna Voyles. With a seemingly empty space on the back of her head, the “super weapon” that is Alphie is not vicious at all. There’s genuine goodness buried beneath all that intelligence this character possesses. The bond formed between Joshua and Alphie strengthens as the movie continues and, eventually, Joshua would go as far to lay his life on the line to preserve the goodness found within Alphie.
There are plenty of exciting action scenes here such as when robots are sent in as bombs that blow up and a key character gets in front of one of them to stop them from wrecking harm on others. An earlier scene full of tension has Alphie and Joshua hiding in a car with others as they go through a security checkpoint. But, the visual effects-driven scenes at the end are nothing short of astonishing with some of the most detailed visuals of the year. Expect a well-deserved Oscar nomination for this film in the category of Visual Effects.
The music is also noteworthy with a score by Hans Zimmer that keeps the action and the drama feeling urgent and of great importance. Zimmer’s score also helps define the relationship between the heroic characters in the movie and creates dread when there are daring escape attempts or solemn intensity depending on the given scene. The use of music from 2001’s Tom Cruise film, Vanilla Sky, in a key scene early on helps link two films about the future that have suggested some very unique ideas to audiences. You will recognize this haunting music which played right at the beginning of Vanilla Sky.
The Creator never really takes a breath for air. Even when a character tries to give Alphie ice cream, that whole situation is intercepted by certain characters with weapons looking to change the situation for our heroes in the film and not in a good way. The movie is both an emotional roller coaster as well as an action-packed one.
It takes a lot for a movie to delve deep into ideas of a war with artificial intelligence and the movie doesn’t always hit the right notes in that respect. Too much of the movie depends on harsh viewpoints that serve to make the plot touch on themes that will always keep the characters on their respective sides. However, the fact that Joshua and Alphie’s bond strengthens so strongly is a testament to the quality of Edwards’ direction. I also liked the opening scene which set the stage for the development of artificial intelligence by glossing over the early years before the film’s story line takes flight.
Though The Creator bites off a bit more than it can chew in terms of heavy themes even going so far as to parallel the war in the film to Vietnam, it’s an exceptionally well rendered effort for both the stars and the filmmakers. From an emotional standpoint, though, the movie certainly will make audiences invested in the main characters. “True love” is hard to find and whoever thought that one day it could come between a man and a child when one of them isn’t even theoretically human. The thought-provoking nature of the movie makes it well worth seeing and is sure to stir up interest from science fiction fans for its great ending scenes’ set pieces.
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