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The Creator

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

With hints of "Children of Men" and "The Terminator" and bathed in the spirit of "Aliens", THE CREATOR emerges as a brilliant, original epic from Gareth Edwards.

The film opens with a clever news real showing how AI robots have made life on Earth easier, from mundane tasks like walking the dog, to driving our cars. It ends suddenly with the depiction of the AI system we created to protect us nuking downtown Los Angeles.

The world splits into two factions. New Asia embraces AI as the natural evolution of life and lives side by side with them. The West bans AI and is devoted to wiping every measure of them off the planet.

Edwards uses time in interesting ways to tell the story. We meet Joshua, a retired soldier with incredibly realistic artificial appendages to replace the ones lost in war. He's relaxing with his very pregnant wife Maya (Gemma Chan from "Crazy Rich Asians"). They're in love and loving life. The reliably fantastic John David Washington (Tenet, BlacKkKlansman) inhabits Joshua, springing to life when two warring forces descend upon their beach side home.

US forces arrive at the same time as the AI led police. Maya is lost and Joshua joins his US team in the quest to kill The Creator, the elusive architect of AI seeking to create a world changing weapon.

Allison Janney (I, Tonya) is excellent as Colonel Howell, commander of Joshua's strike team on the mission. The entire "drop down to the planet and dust off the attack team" raises chills of James Cameron's "Aliens" in all the right ways. The production design and sound effects are spectacular, with state of the art effects throughout taking you to an Earth 40 years in the future that's unrecognizable, yet very familiar.

Jaw-dropping is too cliche a phrase for the look of the film. Edwards vision here is every bit as revolutionary as Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner", with which it shares some innate part of its replicant DNA.

Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Inception) is excellent as Harun, a lead AI soldier whose known Joshua for many years.

The center of the film is the mysterious young AI Alphie, the prize that both sides desire. Madeline Yuna Voyles makes her big screen debut as Alphie and she's terrific.

Any "Aliens" fans out there remember the opening of the film, when the robot unit breaks into the escape pod and finds Ripley, scanning the inside of the ship with that quickly moving wall of blue light that made a giant THX "THUMP" when it went past the camera? Edwards does. The massive US orbiting weapon lays out that blue light in huge grids, targeting people or entire ships with destructive weapons.

Film fans will also see strong flavors of "Apocalypse Now" as well.

The action scenes are fantastic and numerous. Edwards brings the same incredible style and action prowess that he did to the best Star Wars spinoff ever made, "Rogue One", a film I would argue is better than 90% of the entire Star Wars series.

But here, Edwards has created his own story, his own atmosphere, his own world.

He's teamed up again with his "Rogue One" co-writer, Chris Weitz (About a Boy) and managed to develop a story and characters that never preaches, but elegantly grasps numerous bigger topics.

War, religion, global politics, free will, loss & grief, humanity in general all emerged for me.

If it sounds "woke" or agenda ridden, it's not. It never is. But it's smart enough in creating characters that you live through, to raise all those questions in your mind.

Is AI the terrifying menace that the Terminator films proposed?

Answer that question before you see the film and then ask it of yourself again afterwards. Fascinating. As Shipley says to Joshua, "Whose side are you on, huh?"

Hans Zimmer's music is powerful and soaring, with Asian influences that also weave through the title cards that begin each major section of the story. Zimmer is a chameleon. I'm convinced there's no such thing as a "Zimmer" music score. I could pick a Danny Elfman score, a John Williams or a Jerry Goldsmith score out blindfolded. But Zimmer? He's incredibly elusive, and our ears are all the better for it.

The final act is brilliant, soaring past expectations.

The last five minutes are as perfect as film gets.

THE CREATOR is one of, if not my favorite film of the year. Inspiring, exciting and heartfelt, it gets an A+.

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