The Creator Review: A Visual Treat for Sci-Fi Fans

Rogue One director Gareth Edwards is back, this time with a new original sci-fi film.

We recently got to watch the Philippine premiere of The Creator, the new original sci-fi film from Gareth Edwards, the director of Godzilla (2014) and Rogue One. This is his first movie in years, and based on the trailers, this one has a lot of promise for sci-fi lovers based on its visuals and story about AI. After all, AI has been a hot topic for the past year.

The Creator is coming to Philippine cinemas this week. So, should you watch it? Here’s what we think in our review!

Gareth Edwards’ Original Sci-Fi Film Delivers Excellent Visuals

It’s fair to say that Gareth Edwards’ previous two films were must-sees on the big screen. For instance, Godzilla featured some stunning sequences while the whole of Rogue One was a huge treat for Star Wars fans.

The Creator is a bit different from his previous films. Instead of being a part of huge franchises, his latest film features an original story that’s written by the director himself alongside Chris Weitz (who also co-wrote Rogue One).

Personally, I’m happy to see an original sci-fi film of this scale get released. While franchise films are no doubt entertaining and have a wide appeal, it’s still great to see a movie with an original story given that it makes for a fresh viewing experience.

Even though it has an original story, The Creator should still feel quite familiar as Edwards has mentioned lots of classic films as inspirations such as Blade Runner, Akira, and ET. Edwards even said that some war films like Apocalypse Now were also a source of inspiration.

While the story is original, The Creator is similar to Edwards’ two previous movies in that it features stunning visuals. Aside from some great action sequences, the film’s shooting locations in Thailand make for a unique feel. That’s because most sci-fi films are set in modern metropolises, so having robots in rural rice paddies makes for something a bit different from what you may expect.

Of course, The Creator does have its fair share of brooding cyberpunk cities, meaning you do get a nice variety of visuals. What’s more, while it’s definitely an effects-heavy film, a lot of what’s seen on screen looks practical, or at least more believable than your typical CGI-fest blockbuster.

This is a running theme in Gareth Edwards’ previous two films. While still very much in the realm of science fiction, his movies have a more grounded feel to them. This is interesting to note in The Creator, especially given how it has a story that’s about AI.

Compelling Main Stars, Though the Story Isn’t Perfect

Speaking of AI, while we’re probably far from true artificial intelligence, AI technologies like AI art generators and ChatGPT have led to AI being a hot topic online.

The Creator also features a story centered around AI, but Edwards’ vision is not about the career-destroying potential of something like Stable Diffusion. Instead, the film’s vision of AI is a bit more common in sci-fi films, and that is AI beings that look and act like humans. Think of films like Steven Spielberg’s AI: Artificial Intelligence or the video game Detroit: Become Human.

In The Creator’s world, AI has been developed to the point that many of them have been given human-like bodies and are now called “simulants.” Though a devastating nuclear attack on LA has been blamed on AI. Soon, the US eradicated all AI in the country, and it started a war against all AI throughout the world. Because of this, the US has come into conflict with the “Republic of New Asia,” a country in Southeast Asia that has embraced AI.

The film specifically follows Joshua Taylor, a US Army sergeant who, in a twist of events, has to accompany an AI simulant named Alpha-O or Alphie. This simulant will prove to be key in the war between the US and the AI.

It’s an intriguing premise for sure, but personally, I found that I had to work a bit harder to maintain my suspension of disbelief. This might just be me, but I think there are holes to pick out in the film’s plot. Some of the developments aren’t explained properly, or they require some leaps in logic to be believable.

It’s tough to mention what these issues are without spoiling them, but without sayinganything specific, I remember several points in the film where I thought some of the characters’ actions didn’t make that much sense. There are also plot points that I think were glossed over to get to the next part of the story.

Even with my complaints about the story, The Creator is far from a bad movie to watch. It helped that the cast did a great job bringing their characters to life (at least in my opinion). Particularly, I liked the film’s two main stars: John David Washington as Joshua Taylor and Madeleine Yuna Voyles as Alphie.

As the two central characters, these two did well to show the surprising bond that they developed in the movie. Even with my issues story-wise, The Creator was still made compelling thanks to these two.

The Creator Verdict: Worth Seeing for the Visual Experience

The Creator is one of the most visually stunning sci-fi movies in recent years thanks to its more “practical” look. It also helps that its original story is a nice change of pace from most of today’s blockbusters which are existing franchise entries.

It’s far from a perfect film though. The Creator in my opinion suffers from some story issues that might bother more seasoned sci-fi fans. At least the film’s stars do a good job of portraying their characters.

Overall, The Creator is a solid sci-fi film that’s worth watching on the big screen for sci-fi fans for its impressive visuals.

The Creator is coming to cinemas in the Philippines on October 4, 2023.