The Creator is…engaging at best. It’s like if ChatGPT wrote a script using its own interests and futuristic ideas and then recruited John David Washington to give a dramatic performance to bring it to life.
We are living in a world where AI is being thrown at us everywhere to be used anywhere. The question of where will AI take us into the future is one that pops up over and over in social media, news, tech releases, education, the food industry, and literally everything. So, maybe AI created The Creator hoping we would understand??
Here’s a quick synopsis of the movie:
The film starts off with a quick introductory reel showing how artificial intelligence has been incorporated into society. In the future, there are now AI track stars, kitchen staff, police bots, and even human-like versions (sims) made by humans via “donating their likeness” to AI.
Following the reel, the movie then opens to year 2065 and Sergeant Joshua Taylor and his pregnant wife Maya (Gemma Chan) are shown very much in love in their small beachside home in New Asia. Also in 2065, there’s an ongoing war between the US and New Asia. The US and the western world are now anti-AI after a nuclear bomb strike was carried out on Los Angeles 10 years prior. In New Asia, AI is still an essential part of their lives and heavily favored and valued by people there. A special operation by the US Army has been pursuing New Asia’s Nirmata, the unknown creator of the most advanced AI in the world, during this war. Nirmata’s AI is thought to be behind the nuclear attack. While Taylor and Maya are cuddling and expressing their love inside their home, the US Army launches a surprise attack from their airship NOMAD and their home is raided, Taylor is separated from Maya and his unborn child and witnesses his pregnant wife killed by a bomb.
Five years later, and we see a hardened Taylor still grieving the loss of Maya and his unborn child when he’s visited by army personnel with new knowledge of Nirmata’s whereabouts and the creation of an all-powerful AI weapon. They ask Taylor to reenter the field and join them on this operation to find Nirmata and destroy the weapon to finally win the war. He only agrees after they provide evidence showing that Maya survived the attack.
Of course, the mission doesn’t carry out as planned and most of the soldiers on the mission are killed immediately after entering Nirmata’s alleged headquarters where the weapon is housed. Taylor makes it through the base to the weapon’s location and discovers a child-like sim. He takes the child-sim from base and goes on the run to try to find Maya. He gives the child-sim the name Alphie (played by Madeleine Yuna Voyles) and Alphie wins him over. Through the rest of the movie, Taylor learns that Maya was actually Nirmata and Alphie is the most advanced sim ever created and Maya created Alphie while they were together unknown to Taylor using parts of the embryo of their unborn child and Maya suffered a miscarriage and was left brain dead in a coma from the nighttime raid. AI did not have the capability to pull the plug to let her die. Taylor also learns that the attack was actually initiated by human override and turns against the US Army and sets out to destroy NOMAD with Alphie after bonding with AI sims and bots. It ends with Taylor leading Alphie to destroy NOMAD with her capabilities which ends the war and “AI and humans can live together in peace.”
Yes, the depiction of bombings and missile strikes by the US Army with total disregard to human life was emotional. And the idea that the bombing that prompted the war on “New Asia” was caused by humans to start a war which of course has happened before is very triggering. It is very reminiscent of the events of the Vietnam War. But besides being deeply bothered by those things, empathizing with Taylor’s grief over the loss of his family, scenes that depict the horrors of war without regard to human life in general, it wasn’t really all that believable. I didn’t get the emotional attachment to the sims and robots that I think The Creator was intending to sell. For example, in the movie we learn when Alphie is offered ice cream by the sim girlfriend of one of Taylor’s ex-army buddies, that the AI robots and sims eat and drink very real food. This is one of the major things that jumped out at me as destroying any ability to truly connect with intention to feel sympathy or empathy that maybe the film wanted the viewer to. It also didn’t piece together logically because the sims didn’t bleed when shot so how would they be able to digest food? And even if the AI machines of The Creator are somehow magically coded to eat and drink, there’s already competition of resources between humans and other living, breathing, very real species. So, it’s very hard to believe that anywhere in the world humans would want to live along in harmony with machines who can eat food and drink water, that would be a complete waste and make the whole coexistence of AI & human thing mute? These AI sims were charging themselves up at night yet somehow able to fully run an orphanage and monastery on their own? Hmmm…
I do think artificial intelligence is growing more intelligent in this era and I do believe that we may very well see AI taking over a larger role in society like in the food industry or public safety and health and again who knows what more the future will bring? The Creator definitely showed a preview of some of the advanced technology we can expect in the future through the design of the NOMAD airship, digital photo screens as thin as paper, and the futuristic city styles but the events in iRobot seem way more likely to occur than the events in this movie. The AI story of The Creator gave artificial but not intelligent.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, The Creator released in theaters September 29th, 2023.
By McKenna Fuller