Garth Edwards has a very distinct style to his skills as a filmmaker. Every director has one, but Edwards does it almost innovatively every time. For example, his film Monsters (2010) is gritty and realistic with a level of sci-fi that comes off as possible. Edwards began leaning harder in that fashion with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and has landed full-on Neo-Tokyo with The Creator. The visuals alone should audiences witness its marvels, yet the movie has some glaring issues.
The Creator, directed by Edwards, features John David Washinton (Josuha) as a hardened ex-special forces agent grieving from the loss of his wife, played by Gemma Chan (Maya). Joshua must hunt down a secret weapon during a future war and kill it. However, when that weapon is found, played by Madeleine Yuna Voyles (Alphie), Joshua reevaluates his mission, and the two go on the run. The premise is like a Lone Wolk and Cub story set in Akira, worthy of its existence.
The VFX of The Creator looks – for lack of a better word – astounding. It’s truly incredible that this movie was filmed for IMAX on a budget of $80 million and looks this good. The team behind the movie put in the work to showcase stunning scenes that mix tech and nature. The town, cities, and landscape designs speak volumes in the film’s setting. It’s a futuristic world with distinct locations that differ from each other. I was in awe from beginning to end from the depiction of the AI machines, cyborgs, and even the ships used for travel.
Subsequently, this world doesn’t stray too far away from the realm of a possible future for our society, which goes into the underlying message of The Creator.
The trailers show this story is about a battle between man and machine and how the two individuals are in the middle of it all. The trailer for The Creator doesn’t tell the idea of what a soul is. Joshua’s past and wife’s loss showcase that the man is a former shell of himself. Alphie is a weapon created to end the war. Edwards lends his talent as a scriptwriter and fellow writer Chris Weitz to display the notion that AI and humans are not that far different.
The AI feels and breathes life – metaphorically speaking – and wants to live in peace. It’s pretty poetic and reminds me of the work of Philip K. Dick’s Blade Runner. The script’s over-arching themes work for the most part, but the more minor details are a huge problem.
Certain aspects of the writing come off as clunky and feature several questionable artistic choices. For instance, some of the techs showcased in The Creator don’t explain their limitations enough but become crucial in the story. Logic gets thrown out of the window often, and one comes to mind, for example. A character suffers from the same devasting wound that has shown no survivors. Instead, said character picks themselves up, exits the scene, and is seen again doing just fine.
These errors in The Creator and plot points within the story are fast-tracked and should’ve had a sliver of more time to land. Furthermore, when it comes to acting, there are positives and negatives.
Washington has moments laced throughout the movie that succeed. The actor does a great job as a man tormented by his past and the repercussions of his actions. However, there are times when his character mentions finding this wife or shouts her name every 5-6 minutes in the first act. It becomes increasingly annoying, and I still hear him saying “Maya” as I write this review. It’s not all bad, as Voyles’s performance helps bring more focus to the story.
Voyles’s presence is well known as her character’s intelligence evolves throughout the movie. This story beat allows the actor to become more of a driving force in The Creator and even hits home the notion of hope within the context of the film. She holds a level of innocence and the right amount of curiosity that her character calls for and is the right actor for the movie.
The Creator is beautiful to watch. There are degrees of sci-fi, anime, and great action that showcase Gareth Edwards as an incredible director. His skills continue to advance, and I can’t wait to see what he’s got next. The issues with the script, the film’s predictable plot points, and even some of the acting hold the movie from being excellent. Sadly, I wanted to love this movie but couldn’t find the strength to do so, yet it’s worth seeing for some visual stimulation alone.