It’s not often that a new sci-fi movie is released that isn’t a sequel, prequel, or tied to an existing film franchise in some other way. It’s extra rare when that movie is actually good. That’s the case for Gareth Edwards’ new film, The Creator.
Like many sci-fi films that have come before it, The Creator takes place in the future. Most of the film occurs around 2065 to 2070. However, this is not our future. This is an alternate future where technology advanced in a unique way. Society has had robots of some sort for decades, with advanced artificial intelligence happening much sooner than it’s happened in the real world.
While the world of The Creator has drones, and consumer flights to the moon, there isn’t a cell phone in sight. This creates a somewhat unique experience because the life of a robot actually has meaning. Since you can’t simply backup your robot friend to the cloud, if it dies or malfunctions beyond repair, that’s it. This small detail creates a stark contrast between the United States, and the Republics of New Asia in the film, with the US treating robots like soulless machines, and the Republics of New Asia caring for robots like they’re people.
It would seem as though writers Gareth Edwards and Chris Weitz had some sort of chip on their shoulders for the US, because the country is not only the antagonist of the film, but they’re downright evil and ignorant compared to the rest of the world. That isn’t all that far from reality, but it’s rare to see in cinema these days.
The Creator has a lot going for it. The acting isn’t phenomenal, but it’s well above average. John David Washington has to carry most of the movie on his own, and some of the dialogue choices in the script could’ve been better, but the supporting cast helps to elevate the film as a whole. Ken Watanabe and Madeleine Yuna Voyles are the standouts, but Gemma Chan is excellent in the handful of scenes she appears in.
Where The Creator starts to get lost is when it falls back on sci-fi tropes that have been done over and over again. The rich world of The Creator helps to soften the blow of these overplayed tropes, but it makes the plot a little too predictable at some points. This doesn’t bring the movie down very much, but it would’ve been near perfect if there weren’t clear parallels to Star Wars, District 9, and other popular sci-fi films.
The Creator is one of the best films of the year. That may not be saying much in what has been a moderately lackluster year so far, but this is a film that deserves to be seen. Unfortunately, early box office projections indicate very few people are planning to see the film. While a sequel to The Creator isn’t needed, given the quality world building of the film, it would have been nice to see more stories told in this world.
Go watch The Creator in theaters to get the best experience. If for some reason that doesn’t interest you, at the very least catch the film when it eventually lands on Disney Plus. It’s highly recommended, especially if you’re a fan of sci-fi films.
About The Creator
Synopsis: Against the backdrop of a war between humans and robots with artificial intelligence, a former soldier finds the secret weapon, a robot in the form of a young child.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Writers: Gareth Edwards, Chris Weitz
Stars: John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe
Runtime: 2 Hours, 13 Minutes
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.