• Mon. May 27th, 2024

THE CREATOR – Gareth Edwards’ Sprawling Sci-Fi Epic Arrives!

ByTaylor T Carlson

Sep 26, 2023

THE CREATOR is directed by Gareth Edwards. The movie stars John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, and Allison Janney.

In the distant future, the United States adopted AI and used it in every aspect of everyday life. But when the nation banned AI following disasters, they sought to destroy it and eradicate it from the world. This includes weapons like the NOMAD satellite, set up to ensure such disasters would never again happen. American soldier Joshua, a man who was once undercover to infiltrate AI bases in New Asia, is thrust back into the conflict years later when he learns his wife, previously believed deceased, may still be alive. But he finds himself in disbelief when he discovers the nature of the “weapon” that he was sent to stop, leading him on a chase that leaves him questioning his loyalties and purpose.

When I heard there was a new science fiction epic on the way from Gareth Edwards, the man who helmed the 2014 version of GODZILLA, as well as ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, I was certainly curious. With AI very much a real-world topic of discussion these days, the theme of the film seemed even more appealing and intriguing. While the end result is admittedly a bit derivative in places, it’s a sprawling epic in every sense of the words. Is it big, dumb, and loud at times? Of course. What science fiction story isn’t? But unlike a lot of of movies in a world where sci-fi flicks are a dime a dozen, this one actually made me put on my thinking cap, and that’s some of the greatest praise I can bestow.

Where Gareth Edwards deserves the most credit is in crafting his world and vision. THE CREATOR is a sight to behold every second of its running time of just over two hours, whether we’re seeing New Asian shanty towns, artificial humans, or a destructive defense satellite in action. The screening I saw was in the IMAX theater at the Brenden Palms, and it’s easily one of the best looking films of 2023. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to create fresh-looking and original sci-fi environments, but Edwards and company pull it off here. According to Wikipedia, the movie’s budget was approximately $80 million, yet it still looks vastly superior to other production houses who pour several times that into a film.

A sci-fi story (or any story, for that matter) doesn’t work if we don’t have a well-rounded and developed cast of characters, as well as talented actors to play them. John David Washington’s Joshua may feel like something of a cliche stock character, but the man brings him to life and makes us give a damn about him. Supporting roles from the likes of Ken Watanabe and Allison Janney on opposite sides in an ongoing war further flesh out the dystopian at-war universe Gareth Edwards has so brilliantly crafted for us.

But it’s the new face that gets the most attention and the movie’s best scenes. Madeleine Yuna Voyles stars as a young girl who may be the key to turning the tide of an overdrawn war that’s further tearing the world apart. She’s largely non-verbal for large portions of the film, yet her big eyes and face do the talking for her and then some. It’s difficult to get into assessing this character/performance without veering into spoiler territory, but she steals the show when she’s on camera. Let’s hope this young lady gets the promising career in motion pictures she deserves – she’s a revelation!

I’ll give THE CREATOR credit for its allegories and messages. Is it an anti-war film? Is it something condemning the use of AI? From its opening sequences of old-fashioned public services announcements praising AI’s use in everyday life to scenes that immediately paint a different picture, THE CREATOR is all of these things and more. If there’s one weakness to this otherwise sprawling epic, it’s how it can feel derivative at times. When the original AVATAR opened in 2009, its plot and execution drew criticism for its similarities to DANCES WITH WOLVES, and it’s the same thing here, featuring a character sent to accomplish a destructive task on behalf of an overzealous military, only to “go native” and begin sympathizing with the very people he was sent to stop. Likewise, the ending of the film feels rushed, with plot conveniences and far too abrupt a conclusion. Visually stunning and well acted on the part of everyone involved, these striking similarities and a rushed ending are the otherwise stellar film’s only weaknesses.

THE CREATOR is Gareth Edwards at his best, giving audiences a sci-fi epic they’ve long been overdue for. It may lack in some areas, namely a lack of originality in some of its plot points and the rushed and too-convenient ending, but audiences should get a lot of mileage out of this one. Highly recommended!

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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