Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
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I know it’s a big thing on social media, but films in general have felt sort of stagnated. As if we’re in a creative mire for the last 5 years or so. The same tent pole films hit theaters, super heroes do their thing, we all oooo and aww over the shiny thing, and then another reboot, remake, or sequel to a sequel that was made 15 years after the original is put out. Then we rinse and repeat it all. With that in mind, all has not been lost. There has been some genuinely GREAT Hollywood films in the last year or so. We saw Tom Cruise pull off the impossible with Maverick (yes, I know I whining about sequels, but they did this right) and on the animated front Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse blew me away. However, two films in particular caught my eye over the last year. The first was a giant space epic by Zack Snyder in the from of Rebel Moon (part one drops on Netflix soon!) and the other was Gareth Edwards’ The Creator.
Based upon an original script BY Gareth Edwards (Rogue One, Andor) The Creator turned out to be a film that was the MOST creative Hollywood has been in a long time, and yet missing that key element, the “All-Spark” (yes I made a Transformers reference) to ignite the coal of what could have been a great film. Gareth lays out a tapestry of impeccable world building and science fiction design, combined with an original script that WASN’T based off of anything else, but somewhere along the way forgot to add in some key elements that would tie everything together. The end result, a movie that is sooooooooooooo close to being good, but falters just enough to drop it down to “that was interesting”. A flawed but entertaining film that kept my rapt attention for two hours, yet left me feeling slightly hollow as the credits start to roll.
The revolves around the emergence of AI in the west. At first humanity embraces it and envelopes it into our life much like I, Robot, but soon the AI turn on humanity, setting off a nuclear devastation like the world has never seen before. Now some 15 years later humanity is at war with the machines, having driven them from the world, and forcing the remaining robots and their sympathizers into hiding in the East using a monstrous floating weapons platform known as NOMAD. Joshua (Washington) is a special forces spy sent in to find the Nirmata (creator of the AI machines) by embedding himself in one of their cells. He’s REALLY close to finding out who the Nirmata is, but to complicate matters more he’s gone a bit native, having fallen in love with a human rebel named Maya (and under utilized Gemma Chan) and is expecting a child with her. Unfortunately his command fires on the base before he can evacuate Maya, killing her and his unborn child in the process.
The Creator is simply spectacular on a design front. The entire production is lavishly textured and nuanced, with tech and set designs that feel like 20 year ago when people were still taking risks on movies. Gareth Edwards sets up a film with great potential, even though he utilizes many well worn trope that great films before him have used to do so. We have the typical AI has humanity on the ropes trope (which is kind of funny, considering Hollywood was in a strike ABOUT AI in film making while this was in theaters), the golden child motif, and of course the typical “who are more human? The humans, or the monsters they swear are our enemies”.
But I had this weird feeling the entire time that something was “missing”. The core essence of the film was there, but it was as if it was robotic as well. All the pieces, all the trappings were in place, but a heart wasn’t beating inside the body. Washington does a great job of playing a more space age version of his character from Tenet, and Gemma Chan is MASSIVELY under used, but Gareth has a hard time giving a soul to his creation. I really did enjoy the picture for what it was, and the story is complete and finished, but once again. I had a heart time connecting with the characters (and judging by others in the reviewing community, I’m not alone). On the flip side I have to give Gareth Edwards props for taking a chance and bringing something fresh to film once more. The movie isn’t GREAT, but it feels sooooooooo incredibly fresh simply because it’s not a rehashed reboot or superhero film. Combine that with incredible visuals and an amazing world that this is based in, I have to give it at least that.
Rated PG-13 for violence, some bloody images and strong language
The Creator is an interesting beast. On one hand it’s a neat attempt by Gareth Edwards to craft something new, but on the other hand he can’t seem to really bring everything together completely. It feels like a film that SHOULD have been great, but is missing some key components to get it there. The set design is jaw dropping, the scoring impeccable, and even the acting is pretty good. But something is “missing”. The digital stream looks and sounds amazing, so I can’t wait to see what the 4K UHD disc brings. Either way, a tentative thumbs up for being a solidly entertaining film that should have been better.
Starring: John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Allison Janney
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Gareth Edwards, Chris Weitz
Aspect Ratio: 2.76:1
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 133 Minutes
Digital Release Date: November 14th, 2023
Recommendation: Interesting Watch