Have you ever wondered what kind of movie we'd get if you combined The Last of Us, The Terminator, Star Wars, and Avatar?
Wonder no more, dear reader, for we have the answer: it would look like The Creator. On the surface, the next big-screen offering from director Gareth Edwards (Star Wars: Rogue One, Godzilla) looks like another generic dystopian sci-fi flick. Under the hood, though, it's clearly drawn inspiration from a variety of box office smash hits and legendary film franchises – resulting in a broadly appealing movie that could entice fans of multiple genres to watch it in theaters later this year.
Still not convinced? Take a look at The Creator's first trailer below:
All done? Now, you try and tell me that it isn't directly pulling from some of the biggest films and TV shows of the past 40 years.
For one, The Creator's 'artificial intelligence (AI) has taken over the world' storyline is highly reminiscent of The Terminator franchise (find out where Terminator 1 placed in our list of the best James Cameron movies while you're here). Next, its explosive, beach-based battle sequences have clearly been influenced by the climactic fight seen in Rogue One, Edwards' 2016 Star Wars movie.
Add in its dirty and dystopian aesthetic, which reminds me of Neil Blonkamp's seminal District 9, plus the humanoid imagery seen throughout the teaser that's comparable to Alex Garland's Ex Machina, and it's obvious that some of the best sci-fi movies of all time have inspired Edwards' artistic and narrative direction for his latest big-screen epic.
That's not all, either. The grimy, industrial feel of this neofuturistic world could easily sit in a cyberpunk-style film like Blade Runner. Add in the 'father figure must protect their surrogate child' plot point, and the 'humanity going to war against a race it's afraid of/doesn't fully understand', and comparisons to TV shows like The Last of Us (available on HBO Max) and The Mandalorian (streaming now on Disney Plus), plus incredibly successful box office hits like Avatar: The Way of Water, are also inevitable.
#TheCreator, directed by Gareth Edwards, in theaters September 29. pic.twitter.com/E2j1VWAAxrMay 17, 2023
Okay, so what's The Creator actually about? Here's a brief plot synopsis, courtesy of 20th Century Studios:
"Amidst a future war between the human race and the forces of artificial intelligence, Joshua (Tenet's John David Washington), a hardened ex-special forces agent grieving the disappearance of his wife (Eternals' Gemma Chan), is recruited to hunt down and kill the Creator, the elusive architect of advanced AI who has developed a mysterious weapon with the power to end the war… and mankind itself.
"Joshua and his team of elite operatives journey across enemy lines, into the dark heart of AI-occupied territory… only to discover the world-ending weapon he’s been instructed to destroy is an AI in the form of a young child. "
Joining Washington and Chan in this one are Ken Watanabe (Godzilla, Inception), Sturgill Simpson (Dog), Allison Janney (I, Tonya) and newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles.
The Creator arrives exclusively in theaters on September 29. Expect it to join our burgeoning new movies of 2023 guide shortly.
A timely examination of the dangers of AI
Events depicted in movies like The Creator, The Terminator, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I, Robot – where AI threatens the existence of humankind – have become embedded in the cultural zeitgeist for over 50 years. The Creator's own examination of the potentially destructive force of AI, then, isn't a wholly original idea for a film.
However, the forthcoming release of Edwards' latest silver screen project couldn't be more timely – especially in the wake of the AI industry's rapid expansion since the beginning of 2023.
The advent, and subsequent explosion, of AI chatbots, such as ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Microsoft Bing has fueled discussions about the possible perils of such technology. Many of those conversations have centered on 'what if?' scenarios, including those that question whether AI chatbots will become more intelligent than humans and, just as Skynet did in The Terminator, unleash a robot uprising that could push mankind to the brink of extinction.
In fact, the creator of ChatGPT – Sam Altman – spoke of the dangers of AI-based technology during a recent US Senate hearing. In a rare move for a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, Altman even implored the world's governments to begin regulating the AI industry before the technology becomes "too powerful" for humanity to combat. Altman's comments follow hot on the heels of similar ones made by Geoffrey Hinton, the so-called 'Godfather of AI', who left his position at Google over the risk associated with AI chatbots and the meteoric, unregulated growth of this science-based sector.
The forthcoming release of The Creator, then, shouldn't just be viewed as another by-the-books sci-fi post-apocalyptic story. Yes, movies are created to – first and foremost – entertain us, but the best ones also leave us with questions and themes to mull over. It's difficult not to look at The Creator and consider how the unregulated rise of AI doesn't jeopardize humanity's very existence – and that makes Edwards' new movie all the more pertinent.
For more movie and AI-based coverage, read up on all the new Netflix movies and new Prime Video movies to land on these services. Alternatively, find out whether Microsoft Bing or Google Bard is winning the AI chatbot fight (outside of ChatGPT, anyway), or learn about the best AI writers.