Film Review: Transcendence (2014)

Transcendence-data-cloud-of-Johnny-Depp-movie-poster Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is a scientist right on the verge of developing a cutting edge Artificial Intelligence with the help of his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and friend Max (Paul Bettany). This group is met with a lot of online protests, but they ignore many of these protests until the day Will is shot by an anti-technological group known as RIFT. The bullet turns out to contain a rare isotope that is speedily killing Will, leading Evelyn to come up with a revolutionary idea: converting the electrical signals in Will’s brain to create an AI, so as to preserve him. This works great at first, but as soon as the computerized Will is logged onto the internet, he gains a ton of power, perhaps too much… What Worked: Some interesting discussion points are brought up regarding artificial intelligence and the singularity, though often, they’re only surface level or are unexplained. Hall and Bettany are perhaps the strongest parts of the cast. Cinematography looks good, which is to be expected, since Wally Pfister was a regular cinematographer for Christopher Nolan films.

Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy are astounded and curious how Depp-bot and Hall can afford the electric bill on this place…

What Didn’t: The pacing of the film is really awkward, rushing in the beginning, then slowing down to a snail’s pace for the final two acts.Time lapse and clarification are even worse. Without a small notifier at the beginning of the film coming in the subtitles, I wouldn’t have had any idea the main storyline was supposed to have been stretched over the course of 5 years… Even with the best actors of the film (Hall and Bettany), the characterization is often really weak. The question of whether it’s truly Will or a machine using his likeness is often presented throughout the film, but Depp’s performance is so mechanical, I never really saw any possibility for him being a human. References to Turing will go over the majority of audience’s heads, and are too brief to be properly appreciated. Final Score: mediocre 4.5 talented and confused actors out of 10.


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