"Creator is not perfect, but it’s thoughtful, exciting, and compelling."

A Thoughtful and Relevant Sci-fi Film About AI's

(111623) Creator is a philosophic action film that also serves as a religious parable and combines a dark sci-fi plot with an upbeat spiritual message. Although it initially seems like it is a dark dystopian film and the violence can get ugly, it ends up in a warm hopeful place. In a way it has a message that is antithetical to that of the Terminator or The Matrix by showing how AIs might benefit and even ultimately save humanity. Unfortunately, the film is likely to disappear at the theatres before this review comes out, but it is already streaming on Pluto, Tubi, Crackle, Philo, Vudu and Amazon Prime for a fee.

The film was directed and co-written by Gareth Edwards who also wrote the Star Wars film,
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He also did Monsters and the first film in the newest Godzilla franchise. Like Christopher Nolan (although I hardly think he is in the same league yet as Nolan) he has shown a talent for doing hi tech action films. Creator is not perfect, but it’s thoughtful, exciting, and compelling. So far, it’s by far his best film.

Despite its low profile, the film features stunning special effects and some of the year’s most convincing use of CGI which could make it an Oscar or Golden Globe contender for best special effects. Because of this, it puts much more high-profile recent special effects dominated projects like Eternals and She Hulk to shame. If it had done well enough, it could had been the start of a good new film franchise or TV series.

The film features a more than competent lead performance by John David Washington (Denzel’s Washington’s son) who has a promising future ahead. He also appears to have inherited some talent and good looks from his dad. The former pro football player turned actor also had a crucial role in the Spike Lee film, Black KKKlansaman (2018), and appeared in Christopher Nolan’s
Tenet (2020) as well as the underrated Amsterdam (2022). None of them were giant box office smashes, but they were all respectable, artistically important releases.

The film takes place in 2060. America had been running smoothly as a type of utopia that in which most of the work was done by AI's and robots, but when a bomb detonates it is blamed on the AI's and they become illegal (since so many of them are nonwhite it makes us draw parallels to current US immigration policies). Americans hunt them down globally, but many AI's fled to Asia where they are warmly received by the Buddhists who admire their peaceful ways and start a religion revolving around them.

Despite her lower billing, Madeline Yuna Voyles is essentially the female lead. She plays Alphie, the loving, and extremely sympathetic AI in the form of the girl who has the potential to either destroy or save the world.

Gemma Chan is Maya Fey Taylor a woman who was raised by AI's who sees them as the future, and she in turn later becomes a mentor and benefactor to AI's.

Totally opposed to Madeline’s philosophy is Howell (Alison Janney), a military leader who has reason the hate AIs and relishes destroying them on behalf of the US government because her two sons were killed by them. In addition, American roots singer Sturgill Simson ha\is surprisingly good in a cameo role as Washington’s friend who might end up being his adversary.

Joshua Taylor (Washington) is a cybernetically enhanced soldier or cyborg with an artificial arm and like much of the film his character serves to blur or muddy the line between human and artificial. He was obviously inspired partially inspired by the Harrison Ford character in the Blade Runner films because his main role is to hunt down artificial beings who often seem more human than him.

Initially. Joshuah pursues Alphie because he has been ordered by the government to kill her. But he helps her escape and protects her because he hopes that she will lead him to his estranged wife, Maya Fey Taylor. But eventually he develops a protective father/daughter bond with the AI which puts him at odds with Howell and his former best friend.

Since much of the film takes place in Asia, with US soldiers attacking Asians (some peaceful and some violent) and the Americans come off like interlopers. The action scenes seem like they could have almost appeared in a Viet Nam War film except some of the Asians have robot faces or body parts.

My only complaint is the film lags a bit in the last third and it takes a bit too long to end. It could have definitely been trimmed a bit, but it is not nearly as overlong as
Killers of the Flower Moon. Still this brainy sci-fi film is as enjoyable as a good episode of Black Mirror (the show has some episodes that handle similar themes).

The film has no big stars anywhere in sight (the most recognizable figure is Alison Janney from The West Wing) and some people might recognize Ken Watanabe from the
Godzilla and Transformers films (hopefully he will help the film reach an Asian and Asian American demographic). But because of its big budget (over 80 million) and relative underperformance it might lose money. This fine and fresh film deserves to find new life on DVD and streaming.

Directed by:    Gareth Edward
Written by:    Screenplay by Gareth Edward and Chris Wetz
Starring:    John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken
Released:    10/29/23 (USA-wide)
Length:    133 minutes
Rating:    PG13 for violence, some bloody images, and
 strong language
Available On:    At press time playing at Chicago area theatres
 and was streaming on Pluto, Tubi, Crackle, Philo,
 Vudu and Amazon Prime for a fee.

For more writings by Vittorio Carli go to and His latest book "Tape Worm Salad with Olive Oil for Extra Flavor" is also available.

Come to the next session of the Monthly Poetry Show on the first Saturday of every month at Tangible Books in Bridgeport from 7-9 at 3324 South Halsted hosted by Vittorio Carli.

December 2 features: Esteban Colon, Aurora Danai, Sandy Marchetti, and Bronmin Shumway

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Review © 2023 Alternate Reality, Inc.


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