The Creator, USA 2023. Directed and story by Gareth Edwards, written by Gareth Edwards & Chris Weitz.
CineStar Theater 5, Row 2, Seats 8. Original version.
(This post originally appeared, in slightly different form, at my Instagram account betweendrafts.)
I really like the movie, and if you’re an SF aficionado, you should definitely go and watch it! However, it’s great at some things, but at others it’s not.
Let’s start with the latter. The weakest part by far is the screenplay. It’s seriously overstuffed and feels derivative at times, as it tries to cram a dozen movies into one—Rogue One, Aliens, Blade Runner, I Robot, Apocalypse Now, T2:JD, Children of Men, A.I., Brainstorm, to name the most obvious. Because of that, it can’t provide the space to flesh out the characters it kills off—which, together with rather weak dialogue lines and heavy-handed foreshadowing, makes it hard to care. True, the main character (not the protagonist) in SF is the idea, but drama becomes melodrama quickly that way. Finally, it’s yet another take on what I like to call “Pinocchio AI,” where the AI wants to become fully accepted/live like humans and, like, find their mother.
There are other weaknesses. The cut manages large-scale action scenes really well but consistently butchers the timing in close-up action. The soundtrack picks songs that are fine but often too strongly reminiscent of other movies, like Radiohead’s “Everything in Its Right Place” (Vanilla Sky). The score is mostly, well, nondescript—perhaps because Zimmer was brought in when the movie was practically cut and dried.
But here’s the things where it’s awesome: sound design, visual design, set design, FX integration into gorgeous location shots, and the production value in general.
Plus, the cinematography. It needs some time to get used to, but then it works great. It matches three things that haven’t been matched before: an epic 2.76:1 aspect ratio; a mundane Sony FX3 camera; and a Kowa 75mm anamorphic lens which (as to Oren Soffer) was used for 95% of the movie, plus some Evolution 2X thrown in. This combination provides enough of a classic-film look to come pretty close to a 1970s aesthetic; makes shots possible that wouldn’t have been possible with more expensive (and bulkier) gear; and lets the movie look like three times its actual budget of $80m.
If you have something valuable to add or some interesting point to discuss, I’ll be looking forward to meeting you on Mastodon!