The Creator

A commendable effort - 6.5/10

by Jad Sammour

The Creator is Gareth Edwards' latest film after the stellar and the best Disney-era Star Wars film, Rogue one. It is made on a relatively low-budget of 80 million USD compared to other films in its vein, and not based on any pre-existing IP - unless you consider the now widely propagated term AI an IP of sorts, perhaps more of a culturally trending term, but whatever. The Creator has Rogue One all over it, narratively and visually. Now I do not think the visuals are deliberate parallels, it is just that both films have many narrative similarities directed by the same person and they are more signature of his style rather than repetitions – or this is what I tell myself. Speaking of the visuals, the films has no right looking this good for the reported budget. If you compare it to Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny which was made for 300 million, Indiana Jones looks cheap and bland. The creator is aesthetically beautiful with near-flawless CGI. The computer-generated elements were not noticeable or off-putting; I was never taken out of the story because of them – which has happened a lot recently in other films. The only times the CGI seemed weak is when they add robotic elements onto human actors, which slightly goes into the uncanny valley. The landscapes blended with the added elements (buildings, machines,etc…), the design choices, and the robots’ are beautiful too look at. They reminded me of the Swedish book “Tales from the Loop”, especially in how casual landscapes are injected with robotics and futuristic technology. The technology has the ruggedness of Star, the aesthetics of the locations and designs feel like they are from Star Wars, especially the visual contrast of imperialist, more advanced forces versus the guerilla fighters and exotic locations. The blend of Eastern-Asian culture with technology gave a fresh spin to sci-fi films’ appearance. This also plays into the film’s echoing of the Vietnam war and imperialist aggression on third world nations. Sadly, the film does not say much about this, but uses it as a narrative tool. (Yes, the USA commits a few war crimes in this film). I have to mention that the world of The Creator feels lived-in and rich. It is developed and thought-out, and has the same attitude towards its history that Star Wars (1977) had – I liked this. The prologue history was a nice sequence to start the film with, and the chapter title cards in the film reminded me of Kurosawa’s samurai films for some reason.

The Creator’s story is not very original. It’s really a blend of iconic science-fiction ( with a lot of similarities to Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 but with a surprising exclusion of the complex themes of what makes us human which both Balde Runner films treat with absolute brilliance (humans and replicants). Here, The Creator has its own perspective on the matter (humans and AI) but doesn’t dive into it all that much. Still, it makes you think, which is great. The film took a while to suck me into it. I would say it got better as it progressed. There is a longer film out there that I would like to watch. It moves at a steady pace with some conveniences driving the story forward. There are some “plot holes” that annoyed me, but I chose to ignore them for the sake of seeing where the story goes. I was a big fan of the finale and I liked how it ended. It was a satisfying conclusion that made me look back at the film with fondness. The story keeps you hooked and takes somewhat predictable terms that do not come off as clichés. The characters were good, but not very diverse, personality-wise, although they served the story and the vision. I enjoyed all the performances except for John David Washington’s who isn’t as good as he should’ve been. Madeleine Yuna Voyles killed it! She’s very talented.

The film’s score was forgettable but had an interesting blend of oriental texture with futuristic tunes.

I disliked the 2.76:1 aspect ratio which is too wide for my personal taste and watching it in IMAX did not help.

In conclusion, The Creator is a good science-fiction film and a promising step forward for the genre and the future of blockbuster filmmaking. I just hope that people actually watch it and support, because it is better than a lot of films that have come out recently.

*The explosion shot that used footage from the Beirut explosion was omitted from the film.

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