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The Creator

The Creator

How good is the Rogue One director's latest AI adventure?

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Should we fear the reign of the ChatGPT? According to Gareth Edwards' premise in The Creator, we shouldn't: the machines in the Rogue One creator's new science fiction film are so human and so advanced that it doesn't really matter if they are programmed hardware. Because aren't we biologically programmed too? However, the United States disagrees after AI drops a nuclear bomb on one of its cities and has now kicked into a personal vendetta. It goes so far as to build a doomsday machine that hunts down all robots and their sympathisers in the sanctuary of New Asia, a sort of no-man's land between the West and East.

At the centre of this is Joshua, an ex-soldier charged with finding The Creator - the architect of the AI race - and eliminating him at all costs. You might think that John David Washington is being played by an AI, but no, he's just an extremely uncharismatic and wooden actor who would have fit in very well as a machine. Unfortunately, he becomes more of the emotional link of the story, where during his search for The Creator he also finds a cute little robot kid who gives him a new perspective on what machines are capable of.

The story of how machines compete with humans is one we've seen before, and the script is paper thin. The whole thing feels like a Neill Blomkamp film, but much kinder. It's a film based on big ideas, but it never really asks questions about those big ideas. The whole thing is fairly black and white, with the Yanks being evil incarnate and the robots being nice tin cans hiding in a Buddhist temple. It's stylistic, but simplistic. A lot of logic is thrown out the window to make New Asia as inviting as possible. It's mostly ok, because The Creator is wonderfully designed. Aesthetically electric. I almost wish The Creator was a video game - I just want to move around New Asia's slums and robot-dominated jungles, interacting more with the peaceful androids that populate the mountains.

The Creator
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Gareth Edwards' strength as a director is not in the story itself, but in the visuals, and in terms of both the photography and the futuristic aesthetic, The Creator is a triumph. I really appreciated the Apocalypse Now vibe of the film's set-up, I loved the design of the machines and there are several cleverly executed scenes that I would have liked to see more of. I loved the scenes involving animals, for example, where mother nature somehow also has a say in the conflict between man and machine. My favourite scene was on a bridge, where intelligent machines have to deal with a very simple but effective AI that is seemingly unstoppable. In other words, the action scenes are great and worth seeing on the big screen.

However, it doesn't help that the film's final act is so conventional that it becomes downright expressionless in its epic presentation. Given that the story revolves around a human's relationship with a growing robot child, I would have preferred something more stripped down, and less bombastic. Much of the film revolves around the uncertainty of evolution's next big step, and some are willing to exterminate a race to maintain their normality, but it's always so obvious that the machines are innocent. The Creator is a tight action film at its core, but as a story it falls mostly flat once you reach the explosive climax.

It's the atmosphere that is best remembered after the credits have started to roll and even if the story doesn't fully engage, it is the mood of the film that sticks with you. Ultimately, The Creator is an audiovisual science fiction dream that never quite reaches the true potential of its premise, but still impresses in terms of imagery and tone. If you like surface over substance, you will be royally entertained. There are plenty of robot cuddles, sharp photography and fantastic effects, even if the story itself lacks a ghost in the machine.

06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
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The Creator

The Creator

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by André Lamartine

How good is the Rogue One director's latest AI adventure?

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