Every futuristic, dystopic sci-fi movie winds up struggling with the same hypocrisy. Films like Minority Report or I, Robot walk a fine line between creating an impressive futuristic world and falling in love with it. At the same time, our heroes reject the sleek techno society in favor of a rougher, more humanistic one—even if we’ve spent the entire film mystified by a future we’re supposed to fear. The Creator is one of those rare sci-fi films that embraces the future even though society has rejected it.
The Creator follows Joshua, a former soldier who takes part in a mission to find the robot’s ultimate secret weapon—a weapon to end the war between humans and robots. Yet, upon discovering the secret weapon, Josh discovers that Alphie isn’t a weapon but a robotic child. Also, Josh discovers that Alphie holds the secret to finding his wife, who he thought died long ago.
As shown above, The Creator has an intriguing story, even though it may feel derivative of other films that have come before it. You’ll recognize the assortment of various sci-fi tropes, but it still manages to entertain. There’s enough intrigue to hold your interest, even if it is relatively easy to get bored by its slow-burn approach to the story. That’s because the relationship between Josh and Alphie is a sweet one.
The Creator is one of those rare sci-fi films that embraces the future even though society has rejected it.
John David Washington is fantastic in the role. Brandishing utter, unwavering conviction, almost to a fault, Josh is relentless as he faces the harrowing possibility that perhaps to save his wife, Maya, he may have to let Alphie go. Madeleine Yuna Voyles is a quiet MVP. Alphie is caring and naive, driving home just how unique and special of a child she is. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is unable to make anything of their cardboard characters. The consistently excellent Ken Watanabe is the only supporting actor doing anything interesting to even the vaguest degree.
With Rogue One and now The Creator, director Gareth Edwards has crafted breathtaking but gritty, lived-in sci-fi worlds that are instantly intriguing. It has the kind of attention that many sci-fi films seem to ignore.
Overall, The Creator is a slow-burn movie with weighty existential and topical themes and ideas. Yet, at its heart, the film is about the mournful power of fatherhood. Large-scale, original sci-fi is hard to come by these days, and despite its familiar story, The Creator does dream up some great ideas. Though not without problems, The Creator transcends flaws and trappings to become unique and engaging. Nevertheless, as good as Edwards is at dreaming up this world, it still makes you wonder what it would be like to visit this place under someone who knew how to have fun with it.
Rating: 4/5 atoms
The Creator hits theaters on September 29th.