Friday, April 18, 2014
Movie Review: Transcendence
Transcendence may not make the most sense at times, but it's definitely a wild ride of a movie that people who like sci-fi films should check out. I was able to see it in IMAX, as well, which helped contribute to the larger-than-life feel of the film; especially during the second half when a string of events start to occur.
Will Caster (Johnny Depp) and his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), are scientists who have spent a great deal of time working on AI (Artificial Intelligence). Along with colleague Joseph (Morgan Freeman), they run PINN, which is an AI robot of sorts that can recognize people, faces, and information. There's an anti-AI group who wants to see their research shut down, however, and after a speech one day, Will gets shot by one of these rebels; he's rushed to the hospital, and it seems like he's going to make it, until they find out that the bullet was laced with poison. He has only a few weeks to live, and he and Evelyn decide to "upload his consciousness" so that he may live on after he dies; their friend and colleague Max (Paul Bettany) is vehemently opposed to this, as it's only been successfully attempted a few times, and always with monkeys. The anti-AI group, led by Bree (Kate Mara), is also opposed, and once they figure out what Evelyn is trying to do, they attack Evelyn's compound - only to find that Will's consciousness has already been set free online.
There's a lot of different parts that all come together in this film, and sometimes it can be a bit confusing. However, with an A-list cast, the acting was very good, and I love a good sci-fi movie that can get me thinking. The movie reminded me a little bit of Her except that here, Will was a real person at first - and now his brain is in a computer, to put it simply. Before he (semi-spoiler) died, they had Will record a ton of words from the dictionary, too, so the computer even sounds like him - and later, the computer even manages to LOOK like Will. This film raises a lot of questions in regards to ethics, too, and that is partially why the anti-AI group is fighting against Will and Evelyn; the group claims that AI takes away our "humanity."
Yes, see this film. It definitely has a bunch of plot holes, or at least gray areas where I would have liked more information, but overall I was intrigued by the concept, and it's scary to think that this might be possible in today's society, or in the very near future. The movie also reminded me a bit of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001), which I still remember being creeped out by, thirteen years later, but other than the general concepts being the same, this film's themes are very different. I'd recommend this movie for people who enjoy sci-fi (or Johnny Depp ... ) or those who want an intelligent movie to puzzle over long after the house lights have come up.
Transcendence is in theaters today, April 18th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 118 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.