Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: 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 and Veronica Ngo
Where: In theatres near you
Rating: 3 stars
The Creator is a slick-looking sci-fi that feels like an original story despite sharing aesthetics and influences from films like Paper Moon (1973), Apocalypse Now (1979), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Blade Runner (1982), The Hit (1984), and many more. Thus, it is hard not to escape the feeling of cinematic deja vu while watching this film.
Mounted on an epic scale in a fascinating futuristic world with brilliant production values, excellent cinematography, and a dazzling landscape, the film, though chaotic and often politically cringe-worthy, is enticing and enthralling.
Humans, robots, and stimulants (a cadre of humanoid robots) inhabit its cinematic universe, set in “the battlefields of New Asia,” where self-sacrifice and emotional reunions jostle with lots of action displaying heroic courage and big explosions in the extended finale.
The film's premise is that humanity had embraced AI for its many benefits, and when a nuclear explosion destroyed Los Angeles, the Western world, headed by the United States, blames technology as an existential threat. They declare war against all AI. The mysterious AI creator known as Nirmata is in hiding. Using an enormous flying weapon of mass destruction called the Nomad, they try to annihilate whatever targets the West deems appropriate. This is all explained in a brief cable news manner before we are thrown into the middle of a conflict that engrosses you.
The film begins with a prologue in which we see Joshua (John David Washington), an undercover American operative sent behind enemy lines to locate Nirmata, living in a coastal paradise with his pregnant wife Maya (Gemma Chan). Joshua and Maya are part of the group that believes in coexistence. Their world is shattered on the night of the extraction when missiles are fired by the Americans, and Maya perishes. Five years later, the dejected and forlorn Joshua is persuaded by General Andrews (Ralph Ineson) and Colonel Howell (Allison Janney) to rejoin the fight. Luring him with the possibility that Maya may be alive, they coax him to find Nirmata along with his latest new weapon, Alpha O, which has the potential to destroy everything.
When Joshua reaches New Asia, he befriends a young girl whom he names Alfie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles). He realises she is a stimulant and is also, unwittingly, the weapon he is seeking. Whether he should protect her or destroy her is his dilemma.
As the plot unravels in chapter format, you realise that this is a kind of intense road film showcasing the hero’s journey. The bonding between Joshua and Alphie is cute and engaging. But unfortunately, with impassive performances from the cast, the film does not touch you emotionally.
Overall, the film is a well-made pastiche about humans, their existence, and their sacrifices.re