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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

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The Creator blew our minds

New 80 million dollar sci-fi movie takes risk and succeeds in captivating viewers
The+Creator+blew+our+minds
Sam Froum

On Oct. 2, the three of us entered AMC Evanston 12, purchased our tickets, large popcorn buckets and depressingly small water cups and walked into the dark AMC theater. It was almost entirely empty, only inhabited by six other people. We had no idea that the three of us would witness the best sci-fi movie we’ve seen in ages.

The Creator marks director Gareth Edwards’s fourth movie following Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Godzilla (2014) and Monsters (2010). It’s an entirely original sci-fi epic set in 2070 that follows Joshua (John David Washington), an ex-Special Forces agent grieving the disappearance of his wife, as he hunts for the mysterious “Creator,” the architect behind an advanced AI weapon capable of wiping out humans once and for all. Joshua soon finds that the world-ending AI is in the form of a child, forcing him to ask the question: what qualifies something as human? 

There’s lots of ways The Creator could have gone wrong. 20th Century Studios was putting 80 million dollars into a 100% original movie directed by someone who had only done 3 other movies, two of which had been attached to massive franchises. It was a huge risk, especially in an industry where nine out of the top ten highest-grossing movies of all time are either a sequel, reboot, or legacy movie. Original movies are few and far between, usually found in independent distributors like A24. To see an original movie of this scale produced by one of the leading film distributors in this business is incredible. It’s refreshing to see original storytelling like this make it to the screen in such a tremendous way.

The Creator takes what could have been a basic, lifeless, Tom Cruise-led action movie and turns it into so much more. What we saw was original, gripping, and somehow tragic. Yes, The Creator is an action movie, but it has so much life, and love, and heart that it hardly feels like one. You feel for these robots, (or as they’re referred to in the film: simulants) who are feeling, and thinking for themselves. You are able to empathize with these simulants in a very human way, even though they themselves are not. 

In addition to being thought-provoking, the movie is visibly beautiful. Every shot is a gorgeous landscape of the futuristic realism that Grath Edwards created from scratch. Cinematographer Oren Soffer told On The Red Carpet that Every decision on the cinematography side and the filmmaking side was designed to create an environment that would feel authentic and lived in and immersive and real.” This realism sentiment is echoed by the movie’s production designer, James Clyne. Clyne tells Polygon We [Edwards and Clyne] knew we wanted the movie grounded on these very exotic natural locations. And then we asked what kind of world we wanted to build on top of that, which was another big discussion…The actual design language of that goes back to this idea of retrofuturism, of old tech mixing with new tech.” In addition to the physical look of things, The Creator just oozes style. Over time, we’ve lost distinct styles in movies. You can’t tell the director of Star Wars: A Force Awakens from the director of Avengers: Infinity War. As big studios want more and more to appeal to as large an audience as possible, they end up dumbing down the process into one, basic, mainstream flick that you’ll forget about in an hour. The Creator isn’t afraid not to go mainstream. In fact, it purposely avoids it. Gareth Edwards tells Variety that he wanted to fight against the “unstoppable machine” of filmmaking and create a Hollywood-level movie with the feel of an indie movie. He decided to strip every piece of the process down to its bare essentials. “It made total sense to have 300 people surrounding you when you’ve got tanks and dozens of soldiers running across the Golden Gate Bridge as monsters are attacking…It didn’t make as much sense to have 300 people around you when you’re filming in a room with two actors talking to each other. That’s the bit I wanted to try to do differently.” The Creator is like nothing else in theaters right now, inside and out, and it comes across on screen. Everything about the movie is effortlessly simple. Between its stark visuals and its breathtaking portraits of dystopia, The Creator maintains its efficiency and originality in both its message and its execution. 

The Creator also ends up being very stressful. The movie transitions from one tense situation to another, with Joshua and The Child constantly in life-threatening danger. It really is a movie where you find yourself on the edge of your seat, holding onto each move they make, really rooting for these characters to escape whatever predicament they’re in. Such a high level of suspense is both super rare and super important for any great movie, making it incredibly captivating and something that you want to keep watching. 

Edwards holds this level of extreme tension throughout the movie, letting it build and build until the end, when it’s all finally released. As the screen went to black, all three of us (usually very chatty people) were silent. No one wanted to be the first person to speak. We just felt that intense relief crash over us as we thought about the lives of these characters, who over the course of two hours had grown to feel like real people, and the privilege that we had of spending the past two hours with them. In the days that have passed since we saw that movie, it hasn’t really left any of our minds. It just lingers there. It’s not often that a movie has that effect on us. 

If you still have any doubts about seeing The Creator, don’t. Just go see it, we can almost guarantee that it will be worth your time. This movie is almost perfect and we find ourselves disappointed by its mere 68% on Rotten Tomatoes and lack of media coverage. No, this movie isn’t on many billboards and won’t feature your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but it is a cinematic feat that has to be seen to be appreciated.

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About the Contributors
Colin Cummings, Staff Writer
Tyler Press, Staff Writer
Hey! My name’s Tyler Press and I’m a Staff Writer for Arts and Entertainment! I’m a Freshman and am overjoyed to be spending it with The Evanstonian. Outside of The Evanstonian, you might catch me acting in a play or two, watching a movie, or learning something new. A proud theater kid and movie buff, ask me about anything Marvel, Wes Anderson, or Agatha Christie. Hope to see you around!
Sam Froum, A&E Editor
Hi, I’m Sam Froum (he/him), and I’m the Editor of A&E and Photo & Art. This is my third year on staff. Previously I was the assistant editor of A&E and a staff writer. I write for the Evanstonian because it allows me to become a better writer and provides opportunities for collaboration with other students. I also run cross country and track and participate in Wildkit Buddies. Outside of school, I like to draw, run and watch TV.
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