The sci-fi adventure saga is headlined by John David Washington and Madeleine Yuna Voyles
Published 03.10.23, 11:17 AM
The Creator, directed by Gareth Edwards, takes the well-trodden path of AI-related science fiction and infuses it with a sense of optimism and compassion. In a genre often dominated by dystopian futures and AI rebellions, Edwards’s film dares to imagine a world where artificial intelligence seeks to save humanity from itself.
Set in the year 2070, the story unfolds in a world divided between the Western world, scarred by a catastrophic AI-induced nuclear explosion, and New Asia, where humans coexist harmoniously with robots and simulants. It goes into the aftermath of AI playing a role in warfare, with the US military sending a soldier named Joshua (John David Washington) on a mission to destroy a powerful weapon created by the mysterious AI architect known as Nirmata.
At the heart of the film is the moral dilemma Joshua faces when he encounters Alphie, a simulant who resembles an innocent human girl and may hold the key to the whereabouts of his long-lost wife.
The Creator treads a different line by portraying robots as compassionate beings, challenging the typical AI antagonist trope. Alphie serves as a messiah figure, designed to end conflict rather than perpetuate it. The film’s thematic exploration of the value of human life and the consequences of inhumane behaviour, even when directed at machines, adds depth to the narrative.
Edwards’s humanised tale of AI is powered by performances that strike a chord, especially John David Washington who brings out Joshua’s moral ambiguity and vulnerabilities. Madeleine Yuna Voyles’s transformation as Alphie, from a robotic persona into an emotional individual, is also convincing. The gradual development of the connection between Joshua and Alphie creates a chemistry that pulls you into investing in their story.
In the process, the film tends to downplay the cautionary aspects related to the potential consequences of a world dominated by AI, even if they are humanised ‘simulants’. The timing of The Creator’s release is also somewhat coincidental, given that the Writers Guild of America has just ended a five-month strike, having reached a tentative agreement opposing the idea of AI replacing human work as beneficial.
While some parallels can be drawn to Edwards’s previous directorial work, such as Rogue One, The Creator stands out for its distinctive world-building. This is a fast-paced, tension-filled thriller that zips through rural landscapes and Blade Runner-esque cities, and the background score by Hans Zimmer elevates the weaving of sci-fi action with the gritty realism of a war-ravaged world.