28 Sep 23
John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Allison Janney
It has become increasingly rare for big, original ideas to be married with big, blockbuster budgets. The Creator is one of the few exceptions to the rule. After a seven-year absence from the big screen, Gareth Edwards – the director of Monsters, Godzilla and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – is back to serve up a fresh sci-fi epic, one that has just as much action and thrills as it does smarts.
Set amidst a future war in the year 2070 between the human race and the forces of artificial intelligence, the story focuses on Joshua (John David Washington) an ex-special forces operative who is mourning the disappearance of his wife (Gemma Chan). He has to put that to one side when he is recruited and given a critical mission: hunt down and kill the elusive architect of advanced AI known as the Creator, who has seemingly developed a mysterious weapon with the power to end the war and make mankind extinct.
However, when Joshua and his team of elite agents journey across enemy lines and into AI-occupied territory, their simple directive quickly gets a lot more complicated when he discovers that the world-ending weapon they have been instructed to destroy is an AI in the form of a young child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles).
At the centre of the film is the bond that forms between the child and Joshua, which affects the decisions that each of them will have to make as people on both sides search for them. They are the compelling driver of a story that seeks to ask tough ethical and philosophical questions that yield no easy answers. Some of those queries will no doubt be related to AI, making The Creator feel both prescient and timely with the current conversation about how best AI is used in the real world.
Given Edwards' pedigree, it is no surprise that the canvas on which his rich story will unfold is both vast and gorgeous. The set pieces are appropriately massive –the large-scale war that is raging means there are spectacular explosions aplenty – and there is all manner of futuristic vehicles, weaponry and highly advanced cyborgs at play.
That it's all lensed by cinematographers Oren Soffer and Greig Fraser – the latter also worked on Rogue One – is further cause for excitement, as is the world-building. There's a touch of grounded realness to all the futurism, in part because Edwards and his team shot on location all over the world including Indonesia and Japan.
It surely made it easier for an impressive cast to bring their A game. In the lead role is Washington, who established his blockbuster bona fides in Christopher Nolan's Tenet. This role sees him back in action mode, and the journey his character goes on will doubtless see him reveal many more layers. There's also Ken Watanabe – reuniting with his Godzilla director – and recently minted Marvel heroine Gemma Chan.
However, the chief draw here is Edwards himself, back where he belongs, at the helm of a big blockbuster movie. His latest creation is worth both the wait and our attention.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story2016
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