The Creator Trailer Puts Hollywood Blockbusters to Shame

Another smaller movie is about to put today’s blockbusters to shame, if only on a technical level. 20th Century Studios – formerly 20th Century Fox till Disney bought it – has released a new trailer for The Creator, a science fiction action movie that, miraculously, isn’t based on an existing IP. The Creator takes place during a future war between man and artificial intelligence and follows a soldier tasked with destroying the AI’s secret weapon, only to discover the humanity in the machines he’s sworn to eliminate. The Creator stars John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, and Allison Janney. Directed by Gareth Edwards from a script by Edwards and Chris Weitz, The Creator will be released in theaters on September 29, 2023. You can see the trailer below:

I’ve seen the first trailer for The Creator almost every time I’ve gone to the movies in the past couple of months, but the film hasn’t gotten much attention till this new one arrived. The story is familiar, based on what we’ve seen; it’s essentially a mishmash of The Terminator, I, Robot, and movies like Red Scorpion, where the hero is sent to eradicate a bunch of people but ends up becoming their champion. (I’d bet good money that the nuclear attack they reference at the beginning of the trailer turns out to be a false flag operation by the good guy’s superiors.) It doesn’t have any big stars, either, although I’m glad to see John David Washington headlining a movie like this after Tenet (which I seem to be the only person who liked a lot), and Ken Watanabe and Allison Janney are always great. What’s making people notice this is not only that it looks cool but that the special effects are terrific. We’ve been beaten down with horrible CGI for a while, from Marvel to DC to Indiana Jones, and it’s getting depressing. But here’s a movie where the effects shots in the trailer are leagues above those in the finished product of most contemporary blockbusters. The integration of mechanical components into human heads is seamless, with the robots looking real rather than like cartoons; it reminds me of how the Critical Drinker describes the Iron Man armor in the early MCU movies, where it looked mechanical and lived-in as opposed to the liquid-like nanotech of later films. And this is on a reported budget of $86.1 million, nowhere near the $200-300 million (at least) of a typical big studio movie. It’s a nice surprise as far as The Creator goes, but it’s infuriating to think what the big guys could do if they cared half as much as the people behind this film do. This is the way forward for summer movies; spend less, care more, and maybe you’ll make a buck or two. (That’s assuming The Creator is successful; maybe it’ll bomb, and Disney will say, “See? People want trains that look like rubber!”)

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