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‘The Creator:’ Gareth Edward’s new look at artificial intelligence

Madeleine Yuna Voyles as Alphie in 20th Century Studios’ THE CREATOR. Photo by Oren Soffer. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

With films like the “Terminator” franchise, “I, Robot,” “Blade Runner 2049” and many more, artificial intelligence is a popular and arguably important topic portrayed in film given its rising prominence and advancements today. The 2023 film, “The Creator,” takes a new look at artificial intelligence with a sympathetic perspective on what it could mean for society.

Directed by Gareth Edwards, “The Creator” was released Sept. 29. The film follows ex-special forces fighter Joshua, an American undercover agent working for the massive, hovering ship called NOMAD. Joshua, played by John David Washington, became a crucial part of the war between pro-AI New Asia and a militaristic, anti-AI America.

Edwards brings this original story to life with a budget of $80 million. This is a surprisingly low budget for modern-day film especially after directing“Rogue One: A Star War Story” with a budget of over $200 million. Already, Edwards is bringing new ideas to the world of film.

The film begins with a montage of old television ads about AI’s new and useful functions, such as taking the form of extremely human-like robots and functioning members of society. But after AI is deemed responsible for a nuclear bomb explosion in Los Angeles, the war between humans and AI begins.

In a depiction of a war between AI and humans, the audience may be inclined to immediately develop a bias towards humans, the popular perspective created by most AI films. 

However, “The Creator” surprises the audience with sympathy toward AI, as we learn that New Asia is more driven to achieve freedom for the AI population and peace between the two civilizations.

Fast forward to 2065, we learn Joshua is caught in the middle of the war. He and his pregnant wife, Maya, played by Gemma Chan, enjoy a relaxing evening listening to music on a turntable, an interesting display of both future and old technology. 

The evening is cut short as the Americans raid their home, and he loses Maya in the midst, believing she is dead.

Five years later, Joshua is forced into the search for a hidden weapon known as The Creator. But like any good protagonist, Joshua quickly finds himself hunted by both NOMAD and AI when he discovers the weapon itself – a young AI child, soon named Alfie.

In search of the creator of AI, Nirmata, Joshua becomes a reluctant father figure to Alfie as they develop an unusual bond. The two travel to New Asia, narrowly escaping NOMAD’s deadly missile attacks, some of the film’s most intense moments.

This pro-AI perspective is produced in interesting timing, with artificial intelligence at the center of strikes in the entertainment industry. In a world where writers are concerned with AI taking over their jobs, Edward creates a film that encourages viewers to reconsider their outlook on an artificially intelligent society.

“The Creator” attempts to emotionally resonate with the audience by leaving them wondering where they stand in the war between AI and humans. Some may stick to the popular view of AI as society’s downfall, but many may feel more inclined to overlook its downsides.

The reluctant father figure Joshua takes on provides some light-hearted, humorous aspects to the film, and the twist that the infamous AI weapon is a child with unusual abilities draws people in. Audience members also love a forbidden love storyline, so the film has an aspect of romance for viewers. 

Many argue that the character development fell flat, or the timing felt awkward, but the audience can still recognize what was accomplished by the end of the film. 

We may not be anywhere near living side-by-side with AI robots or having AI children, but maybe we can learn something new about how we perceive artificial intelligence, war, peace and the future of our world.


Grace Stark can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Grace Stark
Grace Stark, News Editor
Grace Stark is a second-year majoring in journalism, news. She is from Loomis, a small town outside of Sacramento. This is her second semester on The Orion and she is excited to pursue her interests in writing and reporting as the news editor. Outside of school, Grace enjoys thrifting, reading, drawing and spending time with friends. She also has a small business online called Rings by Grace where she sells handmade spoon rings.

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