Onto the final release of the weekend(Phew, It Is Wednesday Already), and I finished watching the new English film The Creator which is now available in a theatre near you. The one thing that made me curious about the film was its concept of man versus AI, in what seemed like an otherwise typical template of war, which I feel is timely in many ways. The introduction of tools like ChatGPT or even other AV tools of AI has proved that AI is here to stay and literally take over the world. There was a recent clip that I had watched featuring a rendition of The Godfather featuring Mohanlal, Mammootty and Fahadh Faasil, and the level of detailing in that rendition video was appalling, this when the journey with AI has just begun. In the film space too, if AI were to be integrated then it would mean that the physical presence of an actor would start diminishing, with the actor just having to sign the dotted line. Elsewhere, the memories of a person might also be implanted in AI to keep him alive which could lead to many repercussions. If this might seem like an episide of Black Mirror, then it might only be the drop of an ocean. Amidst this, the war of humans vs AI, may not be entirely ruled out in the distant future(when you and me may not be alive but our AI versions would). Keeping this in mind, The Creator was an interesting film to explore, does it manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
The Creator follows a futuristic war transpiring between the human race and AI wherein an ex-ops officer is tasked with the duty to hunt down and kill The Creator who is regarded as the architect of AI. The story here is interesting while essentially follows a predictable bardative template of Sci-Fi films like something that you may have seen in films like Avatar. Yet, it is the emotional angle of the screenplay that stands out while nudging the viewers to connect with its characters. The screenplay standing at just over 2 hours does ensure an enthralling watch which would keep you on your toes. But the emotional journey of the protagonist also is nicely explored, which is why you as a viewer are invested in the drama.
The drama opens with a quick setup of the conflict between the humans and AI leading to a war which would potentially destroy mankind. Soon the seeds of the emotional journey and motive are sown with the introduction of the protagonist who loses his pregnant wife to the war amidst the attack. Soon, he gets an opportunity to rejoin the forces and that kick starts his journey that blurs the concept of right and wrong. The writers tactfully keep the emotional quotient of the film rolling through another character who is an epitome of innocence, and someone who will instantly seem affable. On a side note, the entire drama can also seemed to be a reimagination of the Vietnam War but with AI in the mix.
The proceedings are engrossing and engaging particularly because of the strong foundation of the writing. Yes, there are a few screenplay lags along the way wherein the drama does get repetitive too, but the writers score in one aspect wherein the lines of right vs wrong are not clearly demarcated. Both the parties are showcased as grey with their own set of flaws and wrongdoings(atleast through the middle), and that is something that doesn’t allow the viewers to completely tilt their loyalties to one side. There is a sense of predictability surrounding a couple of grand reveals in the events leading up to the final act. And I do suspect that the writers were aware of this phenomena too. Hence, the focus was on extracting a host of emotions that hit home in the final act in an otherwise standard and cliched war template. Overall, the screenplay is well written and scores primarily due to its strong emotional core while being timely with its concept.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but the emotional quotient of the drama does creep into the lines too. This is particularly true in the final act of the drama that scores primarily due to this very reason. The BGM is pulsating and it heightens the multiple combat sequences really well. The cinematography remains the unsung hero of the drama with some breathtaking frames and visuals that make for a grand big screen experience. The editing could have been more sharper for a crisper watch. Director Gareth Edwards doesn’t quite push the envelope with respect to the template of the story. But within the space, he does a pretty good job but cultivating a strong emotional core that steers past the flaws of the writing.
The performances are pretty good here. Ken Watanabe as Harun is splendid despite his late entry into the proceedings. He excels in a few combat sequences. Sturgill Simpson as Drew, Mark Menchaca as Mcbride and Amar Chadha Patel as Omni have their moments to shine. Allison Janney as Howell plays the perfect nemesis along with Ralph Ineson as Andrew, and both are fabulous to watch. Gemma Chan as Maya is endearing and scores with the emotional quotient of her character. Madeleine Yuna Voyles as Alphie is just so affable and the innocence of her character is well tapped into, in what was a sweet little moving performance by her. John David Washington as Joshua is excellent while doing a balancing act between his own vulnerability and emotions beautifully well. And he is wonderful to watch in combat sequences too.
The Creator is an enthralling Sci-Fi drama that has some of the most stunning visuals while scoring with its emotional quotient as well that results in a rather compelling watch. And the concept of the clash between Humans and AI could not have been timed better. Available in a theatre near you.