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Release Date: December 12th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 2023

The Creator - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Have you heard of artificial intelligence? Of course you have, it’s 2023! Gareth Edwards’ The Creator didn’t make a big splash at the box office, though its arresting visuals, gorgeous production design and properly wonky end-of-the-world plot make for entertaining viewing. Disney/Buena Vista Home Entertainment brings The Creator to 4K Ultra HD with a decent 2160p presentation that's held back by a middling bitrate and smaller disc size than this 133-minute feature needs, plus a 55-minute making-of doc with direct involvement from Edwards. This release is Worth A Look.

Amidst a future war between the human race and the forces of artificial intelligence, Joshua (John David Washington), a hardened ex-special forces agent grieving the disappearance of his wife (Gemma Chan), is recruited to hunt down and kill the Creator, the elusive architect of advanced AI who has developed a mysterious weapon with the power to end the war — and humankind. Joshua and his team of elite operatives journey across enemy lines into the dark heart of AI-occupied territory, only to discover the world-ending weapon he’s been instructed to destroy is an AI in the form of a young child, in this epic sci-fi action thriller directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) from a screenplay by Edwards and Chris Weitz.
Bonus Feature*

True Love: Making The Creator (55 Mins)
Join director Gareth Edwards and crew for nearly an hour look behind the scenes. Hear from actors about the filming experience, and learn about the production's documentary-style approach, the innovative camera and lighting work, and much more.

*Bonus features vary by retailer and are exclusive to the Blu-ray

OVERALL:
Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital Code)
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p/HEVC
Length:
133
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.76:1
Audio Formats:
English Dolby Atmos and 2.0 Dolby Digital Descriptive Audio, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
December 12th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Gareth Edwards certainly made a huge impression when his DIY movie Monsters released back in 2010. Absolutely no one working with that kind of big special effects scale could figure out how Edwards made the film look that polished for under a million dollars, thus Hollywood swallowed him whole and put him to work. His first big Hollywood film was Godzilla (2014), which is my favorite of the American Godzilla movies made in the past decade, as it actually had the refined scale and scope to follow up on the promise of truly epic, awe-inspiring terror and action. And then Rogue One happened, which you probably know by now was taken away from Edwards later in production after Tony Gilroy stepped in. So, you can now imagine how excited I was for The Creator. It’s got a fresh concept, gorgeous cinematography and production design, plus actually something on its mind about a near future where culture has become an uneasy grafting of native rituals and imperialist technology.

The Creator is born from the ever-dominating subject of artificial intelligence. It’s 2055 and a nuclear warhead has blown-up in Los Angeles by AI gone rogue, forcing most nations to declare war on AI to save the human race. Fifteen years later, the US military has developed a mega weapon named NOMAD to destroy AI in New Asia, a conglomeration of Asian countries who came together and utilized AI to develop better alternatives to American ways of violence and control. Sergeant Joshua Taylor (John David Washington) is assigned to find the creator of the AI, code named Nirmata. He falls in love with Maya (Gemma Chan), part of the resistance against NOMAD presence in New Asia. NOMAD finds where Maya and the rest of the resistance are hiding and attacks, supposedly killing her. Joshua is pulled back five years later to New Asia by the US government when a new AI weapon named Alpha O created by Nirmata has surfaced, and also his wife may have been alive this entire time.

You’ll probably notice that I structured that plot summary in a way that gives a bit more context to the world of The Creator rather than the main story, as you may find this futurisitic world much more fascinating than the story itself. Old beat-up junk cars have been repurposed by AI to run on electricity, AI workers tend to the crops in rice fields as massive imperial ships fly overhead. The resources needed for these people to survive in such a remote, segmented area of the world have been filled by AI, and harmony has been found. That’s very different than what’s going on in the west, as US leaders were utilizing AI to expand their influence, and were shocked when the AI turned violent because of it. Its sci-fi nonsense given credence by gorgeous production design and sharp cinematography by Oren Soffer (who took over for Greig Fraser when Fraser had to leave production for Dune: Part Two).

As for the story, it can be very easily read as a western man’s enlightenment in Asia, which is more than a bit tricky to tell for obvious reasons. But where the film finds dramatic power is in all of its various subplots. There’s a power-hungry general who will use technology to defeat technology, driving her own personal problems into the situation and making her a monster. There’s an AI tech who’s friends with Joshua that has been fully integrated into New Asia, allowing AI to help accelerate and improve his work. The window dressing is much more than that, and it makes you more than a bit annoyed that a time-ticking, end-of-the-world scenario was chosen rather than exploring the many ways in which AI has helped establish New Asia as a threat to westerners. 

All in all, The Creator is a bit of a missed opportunity, though I’d be lying if it wasn’t filled with arresting visuals and stray plot elements that coalesce into a much more interesting vision of the future than what we usually get from Hollywood today. However, you probably won’t find a better use of 80 million dollars in production value from a big studio this year.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-rays

The Creator arrives at home with a two-disc (4K and Blu-ray) set that comes housed in a standard black amaray case with a nice slipcover over it. The 4K disc is a BD66, while the standard Blu-ray is a BD50, and they both boot up to standard menu screens with options to play the film, set up audio/video, explore bonus features and select scenes.

Video Review

Ranking:

The Creator was made on an 80-million-dollar budget and Edwards, DPs Greig Fraser, and Oren Soffer all traveled around Asia with a barebones crew and a rig of Sony FX3 cameras to achieve a full 4K workflow. Edwards actually shot and edited the film before finding out which shots needed special effects, versus the common practice of previsualizing and planning for each VFX shot. On top of that, he used a look-up table that made the digitally-shot film look like it had healthy film grain, emphasizing the documentary style that he was going for. I previously saw the film in IMAX 4K Laser and can attest it looks absolutely stunning through and through. Sharp details throughout, with much care being given to these completely generated effects blending in naturally with the environment.

That’s why it’s with a bit of disappointment that this HEVC-encoded 2160p presentation offers a very middling bitrate, preventing this natively captured 4K film from achieving the clarity that I saw exhibited in theaters. You’ll notice that contrast and black levels are appreciable but to a certain limit. There’s a lot of detail to pull from each frame due to Edwards’ shooting process, and it was disappointing to see everything look flatter than it should. That isn’t to say that much of the film doesn’t look good, as at least a 4K master with a middling bitrate offers some appreciable notes over the standard Blu-ray, though it’s clear that this 133-minute feature shouldn’t have been shoved onto a BD66. The low-light sequences should have much more texture that’s just missing here. Shame, but until someone puts the transfer on a bigger disc with a higher bitrate, this will be the best the movie looks at home.

Audio Review

Ranking:

The Creator comes with a nice and boisterous Dolby Atmos track that really kicks into gear during the bigger effects sequences. LFE is terrific, and dialogue and Hans Zimmer’s score are nicely balanced. You’ll find a ton of surround ambient effects to enjoy and really situate you in the film’s environment. The upfiring speakers get a nice workout from the vertical sound effects, like the NOMAD firing a warhead down to the unexpecting denizens below. Overall, this is a terrifically engaging track that I’m sure will give your home theater setup a nice workout.

Special Features

Ranking:

Alright, time for some more slightly disappointing news. The sole bonus feature found on the standard Blu-ray is a 55-minute making-of-doc. That’s not to say that the doc itself isn’t enough it offers a bunch of insight from Edwards himself and some EPK-style talking-head stuff, but it’s clear that not much care or interest was there for a 4K release of this film. However, if you’re wondering about how Edwards was able to achieve such terrific visuals with such a small crew, then you’ll find out exactly why in this documentary.

  • True Love: Making of The Creator (HD 55:47)

Final Thoughts

Gareth Edwards’ The Creator comes home to 4K Blu-ray with a middling 2160p presentation, a boisterous Dolby Atmos track and a 55-minute making-of documentary for fans to enjoy. While this package is rather spare and I’m not happy with how the 4K presentation turned out, it’s Worth A Look since this will be the best the film can be seen at home.

Order your copy of The Creator on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray