At first glance, or even over the first few minutes of its runtime, The Creator feels like a richly detailed, high-production science fiction film that also attempts to address contemporary questions from a different perspective. By its end, though, it is only the stunning visuals and the satisfying production value that remain noteworthy, and that too without having much real effect on the film. Featuring a tense war between two sides of the world over the existence of artificial intelligence, The Creator is not so much about AI and its rights as it is about the United States of America’s imperialistic habits. While that is definitely an interesting commentary, The Creator could have done much more with the premise and budget that were at its disposal.
Plot Summary: What is the film about?
The Creator is set in a sci-fi world from the distant future, where artificial intelligence has reached its most sentient heights, and a war between AI and humans has already taken place. Ten years before the events of the film take place, a nuclear warhead missile had been launched in Los Angeles, killing almost a million people from its direct impact. This attack on humans had been made by sentient AI, which led to the Western world completely banning artificial intelligence and wiping out sentient robots from existence. However, in a political complication, or so it seems, the countries from New Asia do not have the same belief against AI, and they continue to develop such robots despite this choice marking them as the sworn enemies of the USA. While the Westerners intend to wipe out all intelligent robots, the New Asians still consider them equal to humans, and this is where the main conflict of the film’s plot lies.
In the year 2065, a US operation on a remote New Asian Island is carried out, in which soldiers are given the responsibility of finding and killing an individual known as Nirmata. The name itself, Nirmata, which means creator in Nepalese (and many other languages from the Indian subcontinent, for that matter), makes it clear that this individual is a masterful AI architect who is believed to be building a super weapon at the moment. While the American soldiers storm the island, an army sergeant named Joshua Taylor is in a fix, for he has been undercover for so long, and this direct attack threatens to blow his cover. Joshua has to abandon his pregnant wife, Maya, who is shocked and disappointed at his betrayal, and the woman is seemingly killed by a missile strike launched by the futuristic American assault space station, Nomad.
Five years later, Nirmata still lives freely, and the Americans are still extremely determined to find and catch them. The army’s General Andrews keeps asking Joshua for his help with regard to finding Nirmata and the secret AI lab since the sergeant’s knowledge from his time undercover is crucial. Although Joshua keeps rejecting these advances, Colonel Howell is able to change his mind when she shows him a recent video in which Maya was seen alive. The colonel promises to help Joshua reunite with Maya and bring her back safely if he helps the army with the mission, and the ex-sergeant finally agrees to return to action.
What is the AI super weapon being made?
By the time Joshua makes his way inside the secret laboratory where Nomad and the superweapon are supposed to be present, he only finds a young humanoid girl at the place who is simply unfazed by the attack going on. Although his fellow soldiers had asked Joshua not to take any action or even enter the lab without them, the protagonist is clearly on his own mission—to find Maya and reunite with her. This attack on the New Asian village goes out of hand soon as local police and army forces battle with the American soldiers. Amidst this chaos, Joshua protects the child and safely takes her out of the place, knowing well that she is aware of where Maya is.
Joshua eventually names the kid Alphie, and it turns out that this humanoid robot is the very superweapon that the Americans have been looking for. Alphie is the most advanced AI robot that is able to feel every human feeling and emotion while also being equipped with the power to control any form of technology or electricity remotely. This power of the child first helps Joshua escape from the local police forces, who want to kill the American and secure the girl. The New Asian authorities, headed by a man named Harun, intend to keep Alphie with them since she is the only weapon that they have against the imperialist Americans. The real purpose behind Alphie’s creation was to infiltrate the Nomad space station and destroy it, which would setback the Americans tremendously and end the war.
Over time, Alphie becomes close with Joshua as she accepts him as her protector. She works together with the man to escape any efforts to catch them from both the American and Asian sides. Although Joshua still keeps harping on the necessity of finding his wife and mentions how Alphie can crucially help him, he is also now determined to keep the girl safe. In fact, The Creator is mostly about the protagonist’s internal journey from being hateful, or at least indifferent, towards killing robots to gradually changing his mind. With every event in the film’s plot, the man realizes how AI robots are not simply programmed machines but are actually sentient beings with emotions and feelings, just like humans. Much of this realization is also because of Alphie, who becomes like a daughter figure to him, and at times, she is the one keeping the pair alive.
The exact powers of Alphie are also still a mystery to everyone around, for her design is a groundbreaking one that makes her all the more special. Unlike other AI robots, Alphie’s intelligence and powers are not static but are constant, meaning that they keep increasing with the growing age of the humanoid girl. This indeed comes into play, as towards the latter half of the film, the girl’s powers seem to have grown exponentially, making her a true superweapon. There are moments when Joshua understands that Alphie will get hurt because of the war waging around her, and he seems to secretly take the oath of protection for her till the very end. This protection is not because Alphie is a superweapon but more so because she is a genuinely good being who teaches Joshua to be accepting of robots.
Who is Nirmata?
The Creator does not honestly throw at us enough characters to keep the identity of Nirmata a secret, and when it is finally revealed, many would have already seen it coming. Joshua’s estranged wife, Maya, is Nirmata herself, for she is actually a supremely intelligent AI engineer. As more about Maya’s past is revealed, it becomes obvious that she could very well be the most-wanted Nirmata, and it is a bit far-fetched that Joshua does not realize this. After all, the US army had attacked the very same island where Maya and Joshua were, and the woman had also strangely tried to run into the sea, where she was supposedly killed.
Maya’s father was an equally gifted scientist who had a lot of love and interest in artificial intelligence. This meant that the man had to hide when the United States launched a direct war against all AI and their sympathizers. Around this time, he had taught his daughter Maya everything he knew about AI, and had already developed an interest in her. Then, after the loss of her father, Maya was raised by sentient AI as their own daughter, since robots are unable to have children of their own. This embedded in Maya a deep-rooted love for sentient robots, and when she grew up to find out about the dirty politics of the world, she had no difficulty choosing her side. Maya had, therefore, created the most advanced robot ever, Alphie, with the intention of destroying the Nomad station.
Despite her love for robots, Maya genuinely loved Joshua, who had claimed that his days of serving in the US Army were behind him. In reality, both of them kept secrets about themselves from each other. However, Maya’s pregnancy was very real, and she had even designed Alphie based on the embryo inside her. This makes Alphie the closest relative to a daughter that Joshua has, and their father-daughter relationship is not just symbolic. Through Alphie, Joshua finally tracks down Maya, whom the girl refers to as her mother, for she had always known Maya to be her real mother. But Joshua does not find his wife in a state he would have wanted to since Maya is alive only in a comatose state.
The robots in The Creator are technically able to live on even after the destruction of their bodies through cloning, i.e., by getting their consciousness transferred and spread over different bodies. Even humans are able to survive in such a manner, temporarily in some cases, as the memory chips inside their bodies can be inserted into some other body to access their feelings and thoughts. Maya is not in any such accessible state, though, and surely enough, the US army comes to destroy her existence. Colonel Howell, the woman who had earlier convinced Joshua to join the army mission, had obviously lied to the man so that he would help them track down the secret AI research facility and the superweapon.
As Howell and her men attempt to kill Maya, Harun steps in and takes damage upon himself to protect Nirmata, who is a revered figure to all sentient AI humanoids. Harun also explains how the nuclear bomb on Los Angeles, which had started this entire fight between robots and humans, had actually taken place because of a human error in coding and not because of any AI uprising. Since it was an easier solution to kill all AI than to accept their own mistakes, the humans in America launched their persecution against the robots.
What happens to Joshua and Alphie In The End?
Eventually, Joshua and Alphie are captured by the US Army and taken back to Los Angeles, where the authorities plan to destroy Alphie. Joshua is given some final moments with the girl, and within this time, he explains to her a detailed plan. While being taken to the demolition site, Alphie uses her powers to escape custody along with Joshua. The two then reach the LA airport and take a flight to the moon colonies, making it evident that space travel is an easy thing in this future world. The girl then takes the plane hostage remotely and takes it to the Nomad space station, as she and Joshua intend to destroy the evil American weapon. Despite all the efforts by the army personnel, Joshua and Alphie are able to carry out their plan as Alphie uses her powers to stop all the missiles already launched, and Joshua plants a powerful explosive on the space station.
During The Creator‘s ending, Joshua is unable to get off the space station, meaning that he dies while he sends Alphie back to earth in a secure shuttle pod. Before her exit, though, the girl finds a humanoid robot resembling her mother, and realizing that meeting her would be the final wish of Joshua, Alphie puts Maya’s original memory chip inside this humanoid’s body. Since Maya is known to have made numerous clones of her body, it is possible that the US army had picked up some of it and had been researching on it inside the Nomad station. Therefore, Maya and Joshua do have a reunion, but this is short-lived as the space station explodes, killing everyone on board. Alphie, who safely reaches the earth, looks on with happy tears as humans and robots in New Asia celebrate this victory, shouting the name of their savior, Nirmata. The Creator suggests that Alphie now becomes the new Nirmata, or protector in this case, to the New Asians, and a sequel with the girl leading her own group of rebels is very much left as a possibility.