From infamous rogue computer HAL picking off astronauts one by one in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001 Space Odyssey” to “I, Robot,” movies have long preached the same message: Be wary of technology. It will kill us if it can.
Until “The Creator.” This 2023 sci-fi drama delivers a new message that supplants the technology doomsday with a new caution: Be wary of humans. They are the ones to suspect.
This story takes us to 2070 where a prior nuclear explosion has wounded Earth and many humans. Now humans war against AI.
Our protagonist, Joshua, is a sad-eyed vet whose spirit has been crushed. He has lost his pregnant wife and time doesn’t heal this wound. John David Washington finely conveys Joshua’s soul-weary, tender soldier who becomes galvanized by a child.
The child, though, isn’t just any child. Alphie is a robotic simulant able to control technology and is key to the human-AI war.
British director-writer-producer Gareth Edwards is known for “Godzilla” and “Rogue One.” He was joined by co-writer Chris Weitz (“About a Boy,” “The Golden Compass,” “The Mountain Between Us”).
A former professional football running back, Washington has appeared with note in previous films such as “Tenet,” “BlacKkKlansman” and “Amsterdam.” Other cast includes Ken Watanabe, Gemma Chan, Allison Janney and newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles, who plays “Alphie” with a quality of stillness that was riveting.
The movie questions American armed forces – the film’s antagonist – and in this story, the U.S. fabricates disinformation that fuels and excuses its violence. During initial scenes I worried the film would be too violent. By the end, I was glad to have seen this visual feat. Why? It was thoughtful and critical. It made me ask, what are we doing when we unleash all we can against our neighbor? (Rated PG-13 for violence, 20th Century Studios)