The Creator (M)
Director: Gareth Edwards (Monsters)
Starring: John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Alison Janney, Ken Watanabe
A future story that ChatGPT just couldn’t make up
A lot of ingredients extracted from a lot of movies have been thrown into the inspirational blender to make The Creator.
At times, there will be no preventing your viewing palate from detecting the strong aftertaste of past large-screen landmarks such as Blade Runner, Apocalypse Now, Dune and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
However, The Creator still finds an impressive way to clear a path towards a wilfully original and sincerely emotional outcome that is rare for a major release in this day and age.
This it does by aggressively attacking an issue that potentially threatens to smother all wilful originality and sincere emotion one day in our future: artificial intelligence.
Though The Creator is far from the first movie to wield the dangers posed by AI as a storytelling weapon – and let me tell you right now, there are going to be many more to come – few have done it as powerfully and memorably as this.
It is the year 2070. Needless to say, the world is a very different place. Not just technologically, but geographically.
America is still a superpower, but under a different trading name: The West. They are at war with a collection of nations to the east now known as New Asia.
The reason for the big beef? Why, artificial intelligence of course. The West has banned all AI outright after some software went rogue and blew up most of metropolitan Los Angeles.
However, over in New Asia, people and programming continue to live in relative harmony.
In fact, AI has evolved in that region to include a race of robots who look, sound and, somewhat remarkably, experience feelings and emotions just like us.
Holding firm to its military edict that AI in its many shapes and forms is the enemy, the West sends a military strike force to unplug New Asia and erase its source code once and for all.
A reluctant spearhead of this make-or-break mission is the veteran soldier Joshua Taylor (played by John David Washington). He knows New Asia like the back of his hand, having lived there undercover (and, also, having married a local).
Joshua is charged with finding and neutralising a new AI weapon rumoured to be the handiwork of a mysterious and much-feared coder known as Nirmata (a Hindu term for creator).
The target, once identified, poses a problem that may prevent Joshua from completing his assignment. That oh-so-dangerous new AI weapon has been presented in the not-so-dangerous form of a seven-year-old child. Furthermore this little girl, who answers to the name of Alphie (played with a captivating serenity by newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles), is yet to fully master her AI-boosted abilities.
Once properly unleashed, these unfathomable skills could trigger the end of the world itself. Or maybe, just maybe, a brand new start.
At times truly breathtaking in terms of its narrative ambition and epic visual scale, The Creator will come to be regarded by most sci-fi enthusiasts as an honourably flawed, yet a totally admirable movie experience.
If it does fail to totally connect with a wide audience, it will only be because it tries to do too much with too little available screen time (this could be one movie where a longer, stronger Director’s Cut version will definitely be something to wish for).
The Creator is now showing in general release
FLORA AND SON (M)
Premieres Friday on Apple TV+
Three of the finest modern movies about difficult lives shaped, soothed and saved by music have all sprung from the mind of the one filmmaker (and songwriter) – an Irish fella by the name of John Carney.
If you have seen any selection from Carney’s tremendous trifecta of titles – Once, Begin Again and Sing Street – then you will have already acquired a taste for these lived-in love letters to lyrics and melody.
Now, after almost a decade of inactivity, here comes a fourth instant classic from Carney. Eve Hewson (the standout in last year’s series stunner Bad Sisters) stars as Flora, a fast-living single mum trying to slow down and bond with her dismissive teenage son in inner-city Dublin.
Max (Oren Kinlan) has been burnt before by Flora’s fleeting comings and goings, and this time seems no different.
Flora is going to have to prove herself if a breakthrough is to be made, and it is her discovery of a discarded acoustic guitar that just might be her ticket back into her boy’s good graces.
As openly sweet-natured as the movie is at all times, there is an earthy authenticity and genuine warmth in play here that earns your respect and completely captures your attention.
The same guarantees can be applied to the original songs played and sung so beautifully here by Hewson and her co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Highly recommended.
Originally published as Honourably flawed sci-fi movie is an admirable experience