Joshua Taylor, a hardened ex-special forces agent is recruited to hunt down and destroy an advanced AI secret weapon that may have the power to end the war and possibly mankind itself.
Produced and directed by Gareth Edwards who brought us ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, with a budget of $86m (comparatively low these days) and the superb visual FX of Industrial Light & Magic, we are given what feels like a much larger, immersive and visually impressive film. With a runtime of 133 minutes the story uses somewhat initially confusing timeline jumps and chapters to explain the overall concept. Using some familiar faces from Christopher Nolan’s past films and a similar approach to non-linear storytelling, this may require a second viewing to navigate the chronological web.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, the film throws us into the middle of a war between humans and AI, beginning in 2055 with Los Angeles being destroyed by AI with a nuclear attack. Cut to 15 years later, as the Western world still rages against the machines, mega continent New Asia’s army forces and their people have embraced the new technology, choosing not only to live in peace with it, but also help defend it. The west though (namely America) soldier on and are close to ending the war with the ‘USS NOMAD’, a trillion dollar weapon with destructive powers from close orbit. It’s then the humans learn of the AI’s secret new weapon which could spell disaster for them all, leading to a mission to hunt down and destroy whatever it is.
Starring John David Washington (Tenet) as Joshua Taylor, and Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians) as Maya, (daughter of Nirmata – Hindi word for ‘Creator’) It’s also great to see the amazing Allison Janney (iTonya) as the coldly manipulative Colonel Howell and a somewhat underused Ken Watanabe (Inception) as Harun. The supporting star here though is the young ‘Alpha O’ or ‘Alphie’ played by Madeleine Yuna Voyles, whose acting skills are superb for an someone so young. The innocent demeanour of Alfie nicely contrasts with the darker elements in the film, which can sometimes be shocking as the characters cut a violent and treacherous path across New Asia.
The film breaks down into four distinct chapters which are: The Creator, The Child, The Friend and The Mother. These help form the backdrop to the massive and potentially world encompassing terror that requires a longer run time to fully convey the events spanning 15 years. Concentration is required throughout to not be lost but the differing appearance of Joshua indeed helps, although you may be lost the first time of viewing – as was I. This isn’t a slight on the film as the subject told in chronological order would make no sense.
Edwards has used many great films as inspiration, from ‘Apocalypse Now’ with sergeant Joshua’s exit of the pool and for the gritty hand to hand beach combat scenes, through to ‘Blade Runner’ for the blurred lines and future uncertainty of AI crossing over into humanity. And not least ‘Akira’ for the off planet otherworldly feeling our potentially more technology driven future may lead us towards.
There are clever elements here that elevate this from just another action/sci-fi film into something far more thought provoking. Such as the ability to live for an eternity by donating one’s likeness to AI robots that desire to have ‘faces’. Despite its apocalyptic undertones, The Creator is actually an oddly hopeful film. Though never quite achieving the greatness of some of the films that may have inspired it, it is still a compelling watch.
Author: Piers, Maidstone Store