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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Creator 2023 * * 1/2 Stars


Watching 2023's The Creator, you just know it's a Gareth Edwards movie. Why? Because of the dusky tropical look, the vast canvas, and the abundance of military extras. Yeah he's a visionary but he nods to other filmmakers for inspiration too, like a cinematic DJ sampling the goods. I mean Edwards probably saw snippets of Elysium, Blade Runner, and anything Terrence Malick circa 1998. Otherwise The Creator would cease to exist, like a pinkish elephant.

But "Creator" does exist and the breadth and scope are impressive. Yup, as a viewer you just take in the visuals, with every frame without troupers a screen saver to be had. Just think the equivalent of a bunch of binary sunsets, except that it's not in a galaxy far, far away. The sci-fi gauntlet has been thrown down and Edwards seems to be the guy doing the proverbial throwing. "We are this close to winning the war". Uh, maybe.

Clocking in at 133 minutes and featuring battle sequences and explosions that feel rinse, rinse, repeat, The Creator chronicles Army sergeant Joshua Taylor (John David Washington). Taylor must hunt down and kill a form of AI (artificial intelligence) that resembles a small child. Joshua hesitates, teams up with said child for other purposes (like finding his supposedly dead wife), and becomes a traitor to the misinformed special forces. Washington has solid screen presence but I've never thought of him as much of an actor. I know it's broken record stuff but the dude is clearly no Denzel (that happens to be John David's daddy-o).

In retrospect, The Creator is a good-looking film that unfortunately has a clunky narrative, drowned in flashbacks, irksome side characters, and random subplots about the AI movement as PSA. Gareth Edwards has good intentions (does he really?) but seems bent on channeling his inner Christopher Nolan here. His flick doesn't have enough runtime to bait the disjointedness. "Non-prime mover".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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