This weekend brings with it a wholly unique sci-fi film from director Gareth Edwards: The Creator, starring John David Washington and Gemma Chan. The highly anticipated movie is exciting for fans of the genre who have been waiting for large-scale sci-fi beauty.
Edwards’ new film is set in the future as a war between the human race and artificial intelligence ravages the world. Joshua, an ex-special forces agent, is tasked to hunt down and kill the Creator, the elusive architect of advanced AI. The Creator has reportedly developed a mysterious weapon that has the power to end the war and all of mankind. As Joshua and his team venture into enemy-occupied territory, they discover the world-ending weapon is actually an AI in the form of a child. From there, Joshua engages in a world-changing journey abounding with moral questions.
The Creator, another example of AI gone wrong, pulls on a lot of sci-fi influences. The science fiction genre is vast and dense, and it can be hard to find the exact right movie to satisfy that sci-fi itch. If you’re interested in seeing some sci-fi movies like The Creator, check out these five films.
Ex Machina (2014)
Alex Garland’s 2015 film Ex Machina is one of the most curious robot movies out there. Similar to The Creator, Ex Machina asks droves of questions pertaining to humanity and its relationship with always-evolving, hyperintelligent technologies. With great performances from its lead actors, Ex Machina is a captivating sci-fi film. It also looks great; it won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects at the 2016 Academy Awards.
Ex Machina follows Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at a huge internet company. Caleb wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of his firm’s CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). Later, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful robot. It soon becomes evident, though, that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than previously imagined.
Star Warsis, no doubt, the largest sci-fi franchise in existence. From record-shattering blockbusters to fan-favorite TV shows, the Lucasfilms and Disney IP has no bounds. In 2016, the franchise took a big swing with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which still holds up to this day. That big swing was an absolute home run.
The film was the first spinoff film in the Star Wars universe that didn’t directly star a Skywalker or Rey. Rogue One follows the courageous team of Rebel misfits who retrieved the plans for the Death Star. The movie leads directly into the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and introduces audiences to an entirely new set of characters. The film is a marvel of scale and a welcome twist to the franchise; it’s really as much a spy movie as it is a sci-fi space opera. It’s also directed by Gareth Edwards, the filmmaker behind The Creator. Rogue One is a fun, moving watch, and it’s a great introduction to Edwards’ sci-fi style.
Much like The Creator, Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 sci-fi hit Arrival is a marvel for the eyes. The film’s scale and opulent beauty are captured gloriously by Villeneuve, who has proven time and time again that he has a deft hand at creating massive cinematic experiences.
Starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, Arrival follows the story of two scientists as large spacecrafts descend upon Earth. The aliens and their ship are highly advanced, and nobody seems to really know their intention regarding our world. Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Adams) leads a team of investigators as they attempt to communicate with the extraterrestrial creatures, leading to world-shattering revelations. The film, an adaptation of the wonderful short story called Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, isn’t your average alien invasion movie. It’s ponderings on philosophy, love, and communication are a dense text waiting to be translated. Of course, it’s also a beautiful science fiction film worthy of the biggest screen possible.
Director Neill Blomkamp burst into Hollywood in 2009 with District 9, the filmmaker’s directorial debut. In District 9, Blomkamp, who recently directed the 2023 racing biopic Gran Turismo, helms a poignant, yet thrilling action sci-fi movie. The film is beautiful and funky, a wonderful, yet painful journey through a harsh alternate reality. It was even nominated for four Oscars in 2010, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
District 9 is set 30 years after an alien spaceship lands in South Africa, releasing thousands of bug-like alien creatures. The extraterrestrials aren’t here to conquer Earth, though. No, they’re here to escape from their own dying planet. Now separated from humans in a slum-like area called District 9, the aliens are managed by Multi-National United, a company that is entirely unconcerned with the aliens’ welfare, but will do anything to master their advanced technology. When a company field agent, played by Sharlto Copley, contracts a mysterious virus that begins to alter his DNA, he is forced to hide in District 9. The film is a beautiful and thematically dense investigation of invasion, and it firmly solidified Blomkamp as a prestigious voice in Hollywood.
Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report is a fantastic science fiction action flick. Spielberg has always had a deft hand at creating tension and holding a viewer’s attention throughout a movie’s runtime, and Minority Report is no different. While Spielberg’s 2002 classic may not have the massive scale of a movie like The Creator, it is a beautiful, fun movie that any sci-fi fan should watch.
Starring Tom Cruise, Minority Report is set in Washington, D.C., circa 2054. In this technologically advanced near future, crime is nearly extinct. Why? The police utilize a psychic technology to arrest and convict murderers and other criminals before the crime itself happens. Cruise plays the head of the Precrime unit, John Anderton, who is forced to go on the run when he is accused of the future murder of a man he has never met. The film is an action-packed 2 hours and 25 minutes featuring wild technologies and constant twists. It’s as much a detective movie as it is a sci-fi movie, but it utilizes its futuristic setting and technology to great effect. Minority Report is a perfect popcorn flick and a prime example of Spielberg’s talent behind the camera.