Muddled Heroism

Unarguably, The Creator has the visual enormity of a classic sci-fi studio spectacle, with spaceships and laser guns dotting nearly every scene. The futurism in the cityscapes recalls Blade Runner with a glint of irony given The Creator’s take on AI – as if this film were made with similar assistance.

As to what The Creator stands for is guesswork. Part anti-western colonialism, part anti-AI, part pro-AI, and with the power of love, the muddled thematic side is a crushing killing blow to the film’s purpose. An indecisive emotional core makes it difficult to know where the heroism of this story sits – either it’s against an overpowering military campaign with callbacks to Vietnam or it’s pro-AI police state, which is what protagonist Joshua (John David Washington) defends.

As a philosophical film, meant to discuss humanity’s place and existence, The Creator doesn’t inherently work either

The Creator’s philosophy is mind-numbing, aggravating, and considering the current state of technology, irresponsible. Much is made of a robotic child, designed by an AI entity, and Joshua’s need to protect the android-like Alphie (Madeline Yuna Voyles, whose performance is The Creator’s lone highlight). It’s a messy proposition, turning the west into the clear villain, but trying to soften the east’s stance on advancing technology to subdue the population.

The argument for The Creator is obvious – neither side is inherently correct, whether AI is indicative of our eventual evolution or our demise. As such, The Creator lands (or tries to) in an independent stance, a critical miscalculation at a time of real world technological unease. All the while, the action mimics and borrows from better sci-fi, including director Gareth Edwards’ own Rogue One, in particular the finale against a western-made space weapon.

As a philosophical film, meant to discuss humanity’s place and existence, The Creator doesn’t inherently work either. It’s never developed enough to bring cohesive allegories, and the use of a child for the emotional curve feels exploitative and cheap. The twist that reveals Alphie’s origins is just a bizarre concoction that toys with Joshua’s emotions, distorting and shrinking his worldview in defense of what he so outwardly fought against.

The script demands emotion and feeling, but never earns them since it’s risk-averse. The Creator wants to wow audiences with technical ability, casually balancing that with the dangerous principles in the narrative. What results is ill-considered, and at its lowest points, a sluggish bore, preaching to no one in particular.

Video

Shot on a high-end consumer grade Sony camera, the result is rich in resolution with a hefty digital grain structure in places. Disney’s encode handles this well with but a few hiccups (smoky/foggy circumstances), retaining the imagery’s integrity and clarity. Detail can thrive in these circumstances, especially in close. Wide shots of devastated or sci-fi landscapes look wonderful.

Sticking with a blander palette by design, The Creator favors warmer hues, somewhat restricted if dense. An occasional coolness drifts in for tonal purposes.

Vibrant HDR is the key selling point, adding significant pop and energy to the imagery. Black levels sink to a satisfying depth – pure black – which lets the peak brightness hit even harder. The various light displays/holograms produce fantastic intensity. All light sources do, actually.

Audio

Beefier than most Disney offerings, the low-end force from explosions and ship engines sound fantastic. The force and thickness is well beyond the usual heft for the studio, pushing range to near reference. Other discs do hit harder, but The Creator is no less impressive.

Exquisite surround, stereo, and height effects produce a world that sounds wholly alive. The directionality and precision is sensationally produced, faultless in maneuvering gunfire or ships regardless of their position. Insects and birds chirp to add ambiance during non-action scenes. Action tends to favor organic sound without soundtrack accompaniment, which lets the audio design breathe; it’s fantastic. Accuracy IS reference grade, and unlike the bass, The Creator easily matches the best.

Extras

The lone bonus is True Love, a deep documentary on the film’s origin and making of that runs for an hour.

The Creator
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  • Audio
  • Extras
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Movie

A messy and imprecise moral parable sinks The Creator before it has a chance to overcome its sci-fi redundancies.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 45 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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