May 19, 2024

Sometimes you need more than an all-star cast to create a box office hit, and that has never been truer than in the case of “Transcendence,” a muddled up sci-fi tale where the link between humanity and technology is strained and the storyline is as strong as your old dial-up modem.
Jonny Depp (who is wrongly the poster boy for this film) seems to perform his entire role through Skype, which is all the more ironic considering that the premise declares technology to be a somewhat negative aspect of the world today.
Depp’s character, Dr. Will Caster, is a scientist breaking new grounds on artificial intelligence until he is shot by anti-technology revolutionaries, leaving him on his deathbed. His researcher wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), uploads his consciousness into a computer before he dies, thus allowing Will to live on through a laptop screen. His thoughts, movements and emotions (or lack thereof) are all synced to a system, which, once linked to the internet, gives Will a God-like status for he has all the power and knowledge the Internet can provide.
From there, unfortunately, events spiral downwards in ways that debut director Wally Pfister and first-time script writer Jack Paglan have trouble preventing. This is a world that, strangely, nobody seems to care is being destroyed, except for some FBI officials who team up with a few underground technophobe terrorists to take down the Frankenstein-esque villain that Dr. Caster bizarrely grows into.
Will’s technological advances seem to better society, allowing the regrowth of rainforests and producing “seawater so pure you can drink it.” He heals the blind and cures the handicapped; however, he unnecessarily turns these “patients” into mind-reading, self-healing, zombie-visions of himself. These “hybrids” have a minor role as they attempt to protect Will from a random all-guns blazing affair that does not seem to fit in with this philosophical and ethically charged movie.
Morgan Freeman features, as do Cillian Murphy and Josh Stewart, who are recognizable from “Inception” and “Batman” respectively, but they are given minor roles in comparison to Depp’s on-screen in-a-screen performance. The true star is Hall, who deserves to be the face of the film alongside or instead of Depp. She produces a sterling performance as Evelyn who continuously wrestles between loving her husband and saving the world – giving the audience the only real insight into any human emotion throughout the film.
The foundations of this movie are certainly thought-provoking: technology is given a subconscious – it can think, learn and grow. Philosophically you can debate as to whether it is wrong or right to give computers “brains.” But instead of making you think twice about how technologically dependent we are, the films fizzles out, and makes you want to get out your phone and tweet about why Depp is getting paid so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *