Gareth Edwards’ latest sci-fi film, The Creator, hits theaters this weekend, and it’s been getting great reviews. The film follows a future war between humans and AI, with John David Washington starring as an agent on a mission to hunt down and kill The Creator — the architect of an advanced AI weapon. However, if you need something to keep you busy in the meantime, you should check out the 2014 AI thriller Automata, which is currently streaming on Hulu.
Automata stars Antonio Banderas as an insurance agent who discovers something that could change mankind forever during a routine investigation at a robotics company. Banderas also co-produced the film, while Gabe Ibanez directed and co-wrote the film with Igor Legarreta and Javier Sanchez Donate.
Automata is streaming on Hulu, and could act as a great primer before seeing The Creator.
The rest of the cast is rounded out by an ensemble that includes Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, Javier Bardem, Andy Nyman, David Ryall, Andrew Tiernan, Christa Campbell, Bashar Rahal, Christina Tam, and Tim McInnerny.
Automata, unfortunately, didn’t receive overwhelmingly great reviews. In fact, the reception was pretty mixed and leaned more toward the negative side of the spectrum. It certainly has an interesting premise, but it seems that it didn’t quite land for a lot of critics.
A more apt comparison for Automata would be Will Smith’s I, Robot, which saw one of the robots used for manual labor gaining sentience.
Artificial intelligence has been depicted in Hollywood for years now, but it’s become especially prevalent as AI becomes more ubiquitous in everyday life. It makes sense that films like Automata would be catching people’s interest now. This weekend’s opening of The Creator will undoubtedly get plenty of attention for this reason, especially since the film is getting glowing reviews.
The Creator wouldn’t even be the first major film this year that incorporates AI as the main villain. Tom Cruise’s massive blockbuster Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One featured an AI villain and is set to continue this trend in the sequel Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two. Automata depicts AI in a more traditional Hollywood way, with robots known as Pilgrims possessing artificial intelligence capabilities.
A more apt comparison for Automata would be Will Smith’s I, Robot, which saw one of the robots used for manual labor gaining sentience. Automata takes place in a future version of Earth that has been completely irradiated by solar flares, causing the remainder of the world’s population to live in safe cities. The survivors to create robots known as Pilgrims, which can venture out into the irradiated wastelands and help rebuild the Earth.
Unfortunately, Automata was just not quite able to live up to its lofty premise if the reviews are to be believed.
The Pilgrims in Automata are governed by the rules that they cannot harm any form of life and that they cannot alter themselves or any other robots in any way. Banderas’ character, an insurance investigator for the company that manufactures Pilgrims, gets a call that claims a robot was modifying itself. As you might expect, this leads his character down a rabbit hole and drives the plot of the movie.
While Automata was a bit of a miss for the usually reliable Antonio Banderas, he has released many quality projects since then. Most notably in his incredible Oscar-nominated performance in 2019’s Pain and Glory. In 2022, he also returned as Puss in Boots in the surprise hit Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which got fantastic reviews.
Unfortunately, Automata was just not quite able to live up to its lofty premise if the reviews are to be believed. It seems like the upcoming film The Creator is set to have a much more nuanced take on AI, with early reviews praising the visual effects and the film’s approach to the AI subject matter.
When speaking about his inspiration for The Creator, director Gareth Edwards referenced some incredible films like Apocalypse Now, Baraka, Blade Runner, Akira, Rain Man, The Hit, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Paper Moon.
If you’re interested in checking out The Creator, you’ll be able to see it in theaters this weekend. Along with John David Washington, the film stars Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, Allison Janney, and Madeleine Yuna Voyles in her film debut. If you’re interested in giving Automata a chance, you can go stream it on Hulu now.