As concerned as people are about the ways artificial intelligence stands to upend our society, there’s likely to be a sharp uptick in films about humanity having a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to thinking machines and fully committing to wiping them off the face of the Earth. There’s definitely going to be some of that energy in 20th Century Studios’ The Creator from director Gareth Edwards, but what stands out most in the movie’s first trailer is how inexplicably surprised everyone seems to be at finding themselves smack dab in the middle of a robo-pocalypse.
Set in a world devastated by a nuclear cataclysm launched by rogue AI, The Creator tells the story of Joshua (John David Washington), a grieving widower and special forces agent tasked to hunt down the Creator — the being responsible for bringing the world’s killer machines online. When Joshua and his team discover that the Creator may have developed a weapon capable of finally bringing the AI / human war to an end, they set out to secure it for themselves with the hope of wresting back control of the planet. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the thing Josh and his team are looking for appears to be a mechanical child called Alfie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), whose unassuming looks presumably belie some kind of ultimate power and are meant to make us all think a bit more deeply about what it means to actually be “alive.”
Obviously, Josh won’t just be able to dispose of Alfie after they meet, and their connection’s probably going to illustrate some deeper point about humans and machines when The Creator hits theaters on September 29th. The trailer really does make you wonder, though, whether Hollywood’s ever going to find a genuinely novel well of telling these kinds of stories or if the industry’s just going to keep rehashing things we’ve seen and heard before.