REVIEW: The Creator

Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Rogue One, Godzilla), The Creator is a bold and entirely original sci-fi tale set in a future where the Western world is fighting against AI and what they call simulants. It’s an ambitious man versus machines tale made for the modern world whilst calling back to sci-fi classics from the past.

The CreatorIn 2055, AI has detonated a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. In response, the Western world wages war on machines and vows to eradicate them. The people of New Asia continue to embrace AI and protect their allies and harbour their creator, a figure known only as Nirmata who continues to create and help the AI to make further advancements in their technology. Caught up in all this is Joshua, a former soldier. When working as a spy for America in New Asia, he tried to get close to Nirmata and ended up falling in love with Maya, a human woman raised by AI who cared for orphans. His cover is blown when American soldiers attack the village he is in and his wife and unborn baby die in the resulting missile attack. Ten years later, he is brought back in by the army in the belief that Maya is alive and that his help is needed to identify and stop an ultimate weapon created by the mysterious Nirmata. The Creator excels in building a realistic future world with AI ranging from servant bots to bio-engineered human-like robots. It tips its hat to the visuals of work such as Blade Runner and District 9 with a little bit of Apocalypse Now thrown in. It has a slow pace to begin with that builds a solid story with a clear message linked to the beliefs of nations at war (the Vietnam War is a clear influence) as Joshua slowly learns that the people he was fighting against may not be as bad as he has been told and the way his country dehumanised them is the true horror.

The Creator does a good job of showing the various shades of good and evil within the story. There are the clear bad guys (soldiers who threaten animals and children), the clear good guys (those who protect others at all costs), and those who live in our favourite realm of grey (characters doing bad things for what they feel are the right reasons). One of the best parts of the story is seeing Joshua go from a soldier blindly believing that AI is evil and need to be exterminated to a man who will do whatever it takes to save a child AI who his country say must be killed. He goes from an extremely selfish character to one who begins to see how his role in the world can be one that benefits others and though this is mainly well-written, it is slightly rushed towards the end as we get the usual effects heavy finale that we come to expect from sci-fi films. A bit more time with Joshua and his child AI Alphie would have led to The Creator being classed as one of the best sci-fi films this century but as it is, it finishes as a sci-fi tale that I would recommend to all without it reaching the heights of Children of Men, District 9, or Blade Runner.

The Creator is a remarkable film with stunning visuals in an original world that will make you want more original stories from its talented director. It is a sci-fi story with a message of war that is apt for the modern world that will make you care for much of its brilliant cast. Although it may be lacking the depth and time needed to be a must-see film, The Creator is still one of the sci-fi highlights of the last decade that doesn’t shy away from the dark side of humanity.

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Memories of Blood and Shadow, and The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of School at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Elden Ring. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.