In the world of the movie “The Creator,” there are two types of human species: Americans and the rest of humanity, which now includes Artificial Intelligence (AI). Set in the years 2065-70, this film explores a world in which AI coexists with humans, sometimes in the form of robots and sometimes as humans with machine-like qualities.
Directed by Gareth Edwards and co-written with Chris Weitz, “The Creator” delves into the complex relationship between humans and AI. At a time when AI is often portrayed as a threat, the film dares to imagine AI as an evolutionary form, misunderstood by society. Director Edwards courageously navigates the minefield of AI exploration, presenting an allegory of the clash that occurs when one power encounters another it barely understands.
The world portrayed in the film is a vibrant mix of rice fields, bamboo houses, wooden boats, underground labs, Blade Runner-like cities, and high-tech weaponry. This fusion of rural and urban landscapes is reminiscent of America’s Vietnam blunder and the color-blindness of colonialism in “The Heart of Darkness.” Hovering over this world is a flying killing machine called Nomad, deployed by the West to hunt down AI targets. Nomad scans the countryside with eerie blue probes before firing missiles.
The film’s directors of photography, award winners Greig Fraser and Oren Soffer, skillfully capture the dichotomy of this world. The clash between humans and AI is triggered by a nuclear attack on Los Angeles, believed to have been carried out by an AI machine. In response, the West bans AI while accusing “New Asia” of harboring it.
The story follows Joshua (played by John David Washington), an undercover soldier sent by America to track down a human named Maya (played by Gemma Chan), who has links to the AI known as Nirmata. However, Joshua falls in love with Maya, and they have a child together. Their wedded bliss is abruptly shattered when American troops are sent to eliminate the AI threat, setting Joshua on a downward spiral.
Five years later, Joshua is summoned by the US government, as they have received intelligence that Nirmata has created a “super weapon.” Joshua agrees to return, hoping to find Maya. Instead, he discovers a child named Alphie (played by Madeleine Yuna Voyles), who holds the key to Maya’s whereabouts. Joshua becomes drawn to Alphie, pitting himself against the might of the US army.
Director Gareth Edwards maintains conviction in his alternative world, blurring the line between machines and humans. The film raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of creation and the ability to distinguish between humans and AI. Ultimately, “The Creator” explores the idea that the power which often fails to understand another power is often America.
As the film reaches its conclusion, the ambition of the storytelling soars even higher. The extra 20 minutes added to the ending, including a journey to the Moon, further expands the world created by Edwards. The film tries to logically connect all the dots, showcasing the director’s commitment to storytelling.
“The Creator” is anchored by the performances of John David Washington and Madeleine Yuna Voyles. Voyles captivates the audience with her innocent charm, while Washington impresses with his presence reminiscent of his father, Denzel Washington.
In a world where AI blurs the line between human and machine, “The Creator” encourages viewers to question their understanding of creation and what it truly means to be human. As the film asks, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?” It challenges us to consider whether we would be able to tell the difference.