Gareth Edwards’ latest Sci-Fi movie has plenty of life and thrills.
Last weekend, and I’m sure you’re all thinking it, I was bored out of the action sequel “Expend4bles.” All of us were complaining about the bad CGI effects, performances, and story, which is all fell apart. The opening weekend box office receipts for that film have been pitiful, considering its $100 million budget. Maybe movie-goers aren’t as stupid as Hollywood depicts them, and I’m glad they made the right choice of seeing better movies over this.
That same week, I attended a Dolby screening of Gareth Edward’s latest Sci-Fi movie “The Creator,” which has the right special effects, performances, and story. A story which takes place in the future when robots, who were supposed to benefit mankind, wage a war on humanity, starring with the destruction of Los Angeles. It’s a movie that loves “Blade Runner,” “Paper Moon,” “E.T.,” and “Apocalypse Now,” among others, and isn’t all self-congratulatory about it.
In fact, now that I look at it, you should also see the documentary “Lynch/Oz,” which is about how David Lynch and many filmmakers have used pieces of “The Wizard of Oz” as inspiration for their movies. “The Creator” likes to take pieces from the vehicles and buildings of “Blade Runner,” the adult and child chemistry of “Paper Moon,” and the war drama and mission of “Apocalypse Now.” Even one scene likes to mimic a specific moment in “Pulp Fiction.”
On to the story, written by Edwards and Chris Weitz.
John David Washington plays an ex-special forces agent named Joshua, who lost his left arm in the war, and now has a mechanical arm. His wife (Gemma Chen) disappears after an undercover mission gone wrong, and now, he’s left in grievance. He’s eventually visited by the General (Ralph Ineson) and Colonel (Allison Janney), who both claim to have evidence of his wife’s whereabouts, if he agrees to the find and destroy the A.I., which guarantees to end the war at the cost of humanity. These robots have their sanctuary in Vietnam. Now, this is when he has to go “Apocalypse Now.”
However, this A.I. happens to be in the form of a child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), who spends her time watching cartoons like young Butch in “Pulp Fiction,” and can control power by praying. Naming her Alfie, he constantly asks her for the whereabouts of his wife, but to no avail. The story is a little hard to understand, but I do acknowledge that eventually, Joshua warms up to the robotic girl enough to make them both wanted fugitives. Now, this is how it wants to be “Paper Moon.”
“The Creator” certainly has the right entertainment value to keep fans of the genre inside, especially if Edwards spices things up. I like the way the movie adds Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” when Joshua goes on the main mission, and I like how it gives the main human character his contradictions. Will he reunite with his wife? Or is it just a trick to get him on the mission. Or will his connection with Alfie really change his outlook on life? Washington, fresh from “Amsterdam,” delivers on those various aspects.
Among the impressive gadgets and ships, there’s a control ship, which locates and destroys the fugitives A.I.s. And if someone dies, their minds get transferred into another body. However, if you’re dead for awhile, you have only 30 seconds to say your final words. So think and talk fast.
I can’t speak for this upcoming weekend’s box office results, but even some of the best Sci-Fi movies have bombed. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be appreciated or entertaining. Let’s see how “The Creator” does.
This article was written by me with full support of the SAG-AFTRA strikes.