Man vs. machine

The next film from Rogue One's Gareth Edwards

Man vs. machine
Image: Sony Pictures

Every now and again, I'll catch a trailer for a film that'll hook me from the get-go: everything clicks. There was Duncan Jones' Moon, Neill Blomkamp's Elysium, and now, there's Gareth Edwards' The Creator, which is due out this September. (h/t to Nick S. for pointing this out in the TO Slack this morning. I would have missed it otherwise.

I've heard a little about this project over the years, but it's something that's largely flown under the radar for me. Word about the project surfaced back in February 2020, and casting began last year, for a film described as an original story from Edwards. I've loved his work: his debut film Monsters was a wonderful indie film, and his next was an interesting take on Godzilla that I enjoyed quite a bit. Then of course, there's Star Wars: Rogue One, which told probably one of the most interesting films of the entire Disney-era franchise.  

An original science fiction film that isn't tied to a blockbuster franchise is always interesting to me. It does look like a trope that we've seen more than our fair share of over the years: malevolent robot vs. human stories, but the success of those films almost always comes down to the story and world. You've got the big blockbusters like Terminator on one hand, then the smaller indie films like Her and Ex Machina on the other, with little middle ground.

It's hard to pre-judge a film on the trailer alone, but I have to say, this really grabbed my attention. Edwards has clearly brought in some of the visual stylings from Rogue One, but there's a ton of eye candy when it comes to the visual design of the robots, ships, costumes, and world. It's a film that feels like it has a fully-fleshed out environment. I feel like that isn't something you see all that often: a director that's letting their concept artists and designers run wild, especially for this sort of non-franchise project. It reminds me quite a bit of the visuals and world that we saw in Blomkamp's Elysium, in all the best ways.

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I think that sort of worldbuilding is important for stories like this. There are so many films that come out with a lofty SF concept, only to feel like they're set in the real world with just a couple of sleek pieces of technology, like an earbud or some sort of weird MacGuffin prop that drives the plot that sticks out like a sore thumb. Mind, we're just going off of this brief teaser, but this feels like a world where it feels like they've taken the time and energy to make it feel used or lived in, and that helps the story land. For me, at least.

So, consider this placed high on my anticipation list for the rest of the year: hopefully it'll be a good story. We'll find out in a couple of months.