2014-05-30 10:21
What it's about:

Dr. Will Caster is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotion. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. In the extremists’ attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for his success in becoming a participant in his own transcendence.

For his wife, Evelyn and friend, Max, both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can, but if they should. Their worst fears are realised as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power; to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is that there may be no way to stop him.

What we thought:

Artificial intelligence has been a favourite topic in the sci-fi movie genre, having come up with cult hits like Terminator and The Matrix, and usually goes hand in hand with humanity’s paranoia over creating something that is smarter than its creators. Despite having a promising concept, Transcendence attempts to blur the idea of what it is that makes us human and loses its potential in a series of illogical plot holes.

A scientist, who doesn’t exactly have much of a personality, attempts to make advances in AI technology, all the while putting a target on his back for anti-tech nuts. They kill him, and his wife turns him into a digital god. But the question now is – is he still human, or is he just machine?

For some reason in the logic of the characters, he cannot be both. The wife, played by Rebecca Hall, initially believes it is him, but after too many creepy interactions starts doubting him. This begs the question if machine and human could ever merge into a harmonious hybrid. We aren’t talking about replacing organs and limbs with synthetics, but more along the lines of merging brain function with that of a computer. Imagine being able to upgrade your memory when you get a bit old? Unfortunately, Transcendence doesn’t adequately explore this as it is more focused on the scary hive-mind scenario and losing individualism.

But at least it looked pretty. This is thanks to first-time director, but critically acclaimed cinematographer (Inception, The Dark Knight), Wally Pfister. Gorgeous visuals and sleek technology designs makes the movie very appealing to the eye, but perhaps the direction should rather have been left in the hands of more experienced director. Visuals aren’t everything, as Michael Bay proves to use time and again.

The main thing that bugged me intensely (SPOILER – although they tell you the end in the beginning of the movie) was the government and anti-tech people’s plan to wipe out the digital scientist. The only way to wipe out a potentially dangerous entity (who hasn’t actually done anything threatening really) is to just wipe out the world’s technology. Yeah, just wipe out everything without consulting, oh I don’t know, THE WHOLE PLANET whether or not they want to be cut off from their gadgets and internet. Idiocy doesn’t cover it, although the digital Depp’s real agenda was not something I completely expected.

Transcendence is one of those movies you would go watch when you have watched all the good ones and just want to hang with friends/SO. Plot holes for days and not a thrilling performance from the director or Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow, but at least it holds up some good themes and further proof that the Americans should never be in charge of making decisions on behalf of the rest of the world.

Not absolutely horrible or amazing, this sci-fi will probably fall into the realm of forgettable Johnny Depp movies, although it raised some interesting moral discussions on humanity’s dependence on and fear of technology.
Read more on:    morgan freeman  |  rebecca hall  |  johnny depp  |  movies

Keir 2014/05/31 17:00
Just watched the movie and loved it. This review is junk though. It seems some people have forgotten that you judge the story for what it is, not what it isn't otherwise its just your personal mumbo jumbo about what you feel the plot should have been and not actually a review of the movie. As for the plot holes? I don't see any mention of them... just that there were apparently a whole bunch.
Johannes Smid 2014/06/01 13:01
"humanity’s paranoia over creating something that is smarter than its creators" Paranoia implies irrationality or delusions. Not climbing into a cage with a lion is not irrational, it is common sense. Creating a more intelligent and immortal life-form is very 'significant' one way or another.
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