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For a movie too heavy on religious metaphors and less smart than it continually thinks it is, The Creator still holds your attention for long stretches thanks to striking visuals and a great score.

From a distance The Creator appears to be the thinking man's science fiction film they just don't make anymore. With its timely story about both the merits and dangers of artificial intelligence the picture touches upon grand themes that define what it means to be human.

Director Gareth Edwards, taking place behind the camera for the first time since 2016's Rogue One, also adds a visual flair to the film that can't help but draw you in. From the beautiful designs of the A.I. robots and 'big baddie' spaceship NOMAD to Greig Fraser's moody camera work and Hans Zimmer's excellent score, The Creator is a marvel of artistry throughout.

The picture doesn't quite hold up under more intense scrutiny however, especially when it comes to the narrative. The story is often needlessly convoluted and generally opts for easy, predictable emotional beats. Worse still is the relentless use of religious tropes and imagery, which is novel nor particularly engaging.

The cast doesn't do a lot of heavy lifting either. John David Washington makes for a rather boring lead while Allison Janney is a cardboard villain and Gemma Chan nor Ken Wattanabe get a lot of great material to sink their teeth in. The only person in the cast who really registers is Madeleine Yuna Voyles, the 'Child' who plays a pivotal role in the war between humans and artificial intelligence.

But what ultimately lets down The Creator the most is the muddled message it conveys. In the current, polarised debate about AI the film doesn't take a clear side at all and thus renders itself rather pointless.

release: 2023

director: Gareth Edwards

starring: John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe


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