Billed as an original sci-fi story, “The Creator’s” premise intrigued me. Amidst a war between humans and robots, an ex-special forces agent is grieving over the loss of his wife. He is recruited to capture and destroy a weapon designed by the mysterious Creator. But when he finds out the weapon is a young robotic child, he must reconsider everything he once knew and decide what the right path is.
It’s not often we are treated to new sci-fi stories that have franchise potential. What excited me most about “The Creator” was the potential behind it. While I admire certain aspects of the story, it often falls short in exploring the many opportunities that are presented. Visually, the film is top notch. For an 80-million-dollar budget, director Gareth Edwards doesn’t let a penny go to waste. This is especially impressive due to the many high budget films that look worse than his movie. The film’s visual style is unique to the world that these characters are living in. Each frame is enhanced by the sharp visual style, which helps us believe that these characters are in a unique place with a grounded universe.
The performances were a bit of a mixed bag, but John David Washington has a vast improvement over his performance in Tenet. He adds a nice internal conflict within the character’s persona, making his journey more interesting. Allison Janney also steals the show when she’s on screen. She’s capable of being maniacal, but also has a compelling backstory that makes the audience understand her motivations.
What makes “The Creator” so disappointing is that it could have been something special. But unfortunately, the film is a misfire on nearly every level. The longer the story goes on, the more preposterous it gets. We begin with a neat premise, where a man full of regret and loss is at a moral crossroads. But his character continued to make ridiculous decisions left and right, creating a frustrating execution of the entire story. When he meets the child (the film’s so-called weapon) his morality and ideology seem to flip like a light switch. This was unbelievable on nearly every level as his dynamic with the girl wasn’t built upon much at all. Not to mention the idea of her being a weapon is overlooked. The two never get time to learn about one another nor do the emotional stakes have much weight. We are force-fed the idea that “this is how you should feel because we say so”, rather than truly building chemistry between any of the characters. It’s amazing how little investment I felt in any of their stories.
The film also has a morally perplexing message at its core. Artificial intelligence is a subject that is controversial and multifaceted. But the plot chooses to take a hardline stance in favor of A.I. development. Most of the humans are portrayed as sniveling, conniving, and one dimensional. Perhaps if the filmmakers analyzed both perspectives (humans and A.I.), the story would have been more successful. With the current state of the world, making a pro A.I. movie left a sour taste in my mouth. It’s almost as if we’re supposed to ignore the problems that many of the “villains” brought to light that mirror many real-life concerns. I don’t feel like the machines’ motivation for staying in the fight was good enough nor did the humans supporting them feel earned. Everything felt so forced and unsatisfying. If anything, I think the studio might have misread the room about the public’s perception of A.I.
Strangely enough, “The Creator” is described as a new, groundbreaking story. But for those who have seen other sci-fi movies, it’s clear that most of the plot is taken from other (better) films. I noticed plot threads from “Terminator”, “Blade Runner”, “Apocalypse Now”, and more. The film tries to interweave ideas of acceptance and imperialism into the story too, making everything feel overstuffed and confused. I still wonder what the film was really trying to say. A simpler approach might have worked better in this case.
Somewhere along the way, “The Creator” had a good story that was lost in the weeds. A combination of bad ideas and ridiculous plot execution fatally wound the film from any chance of recovery. It’s unfortunate that this movie might set more inventive sci-fi stories back. I’m just baffled at how everything unfolded. This will go down as one of my most disappointing movies of the year and I would definitely say skip this one.