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The Creator (12A, 133 minutes)
Film maker Gareth Edwards certainly thinks big, from the 2014 giant lizard silliness of Godzilla to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But with The Creator he has crafted an epic visual feast that deserves to be seen on the largest screen you can find.
With a storyline that takes the recent developments in artificial intelligence forward by about 50 years, after a nuclear detonation which wiped out LA and all its inhabitants (blamed on the robots), the United States is on a mission to eradicate AI from the face of the planet, even though in New Asia (what used to be Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, etc.,) humans and robots are co-existing happily.
It’s a damning indictment of an American foreign policy that is so old now it has long ago become part of the country’s DNA where anything that might one day challenge American military supremacy is automatically considered a threat.
So imagine Avatar meets The Golden Child and Ex Machina on The Killing Fields with a death star (and an exploding dustbin droid that run like an NFL wide receiver) thrown in for good measure and you’ve pretty much got the general flavour of this classy sci-fi morality tale in which the US Army is on the hunt for a new weapon developed by the elusive creator of the robots which has the power to end the war once and for all.
Former covert special forces officer gone native Joshua (John David Washington – Denzel’s boy) is recruited to track down the creator and destroy the weapon, although his own agenda is to find his wife (Gemma Chan), who he had long thought to be dead after a US raid on his happy undercover home in New Asia five years earlier.
Washington is very much like his dad in that he brings an effortless presence to every role he takes on. There’s a depth to Joshua who on locating the weapon – which turns out to be an AI child capable of controlling all the electronics around her – begins to realise that killing an artificial intelligence has far more moral weight attached to it than simply “switching it off”.
Filmed on location in Thailand, the exquisite cinematography adds credence to outlandish, widescreen special effects including the giant imposing Nomad craft with its deadly pinpoint missile accuracy and Lucasfilm-style gun battles with American forces replacing Empire stormtroopers.
At it’s heart, The Creator is an allegory for the US’s penchant for destruction and violence from its subjugation and near genocide of the American Indians in the mid 19th century to ensuring ever since, with 9/11 and Pearl Harbour the only real exceptions, that its wars are fought on foreign soil.
The overriding message here is that whether man or mechanoid, sentience without a conscience will produce the same result.
The result here is a fine piece of big cinema.