Ah Transcendence. I’m going to be honest. I’ve got a love hate thing going on with this movie. By the way in case you were wondering (because I know you were) the definition of transcendence is: Exceeding or surpassing in degree or excellence; having continuous existence outside the created world; free from the limitations inherent in matter.
That actually cleared up a lot of things with me since they said the word like three times in the movie and had me wishing I had snuck a dictionary in with me. So if you’re thinking about seeing this movie I just saved you some time. You’re welcome.
Anyway we have an interesting sci-fi treat here with Transcendence starring Mr. Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger, Pirates of the Caribbean Series, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) who plays mild manner Dr. Will Caster a researcher for artificial intelligence who is on the verge of a breakthrough in creating a machine with knowledge of everything ever known to man-kind with human emotions. I bet you already know where this is going. Dr. Castor is the top dog in his field and admired by most for accomplishments however there are a select few who believe the good doctor is taking things a little too far and call his work an abomination. This group of anti technology extremists not only put a hit out on Dr. Castor but also all of his colleagues who assisted him in his research. Yet their attempt to kill the Dr. results in a slow death by radiation poisoning in which his wife Evelyn Castor; Rebecca Hall (The Prestige, Iron Man 3, Everything Must Go) takes action with a plan to save her husband by using his research to upload his self conscious onto a computer. A friend to both Dr. Castor and Evelyn, Max Waters played by Paul Bettany (Blood, Iron Man, Margin Call) logically tries to interject arguing the value of life the Dr. may have if it were to work or better yet; what if the procedure were to change his subconscious all together? Huh, huh? Think about it. All very good arguments which of course fall on deaf ears because Evelyn loves her husband and wants his work to have meaning and blah, blah, blah.
So they try the experiment and it works. Dr. Castor lives again only through every online device imaginable so…he’s pretty much everywhere. Has control of almost everything. Knows everything. See’s everything. The God complex plays out pretty big in this movie and though the Dr.’s intentions seem good the big question becomes; just because you have the power to do something, should you?
Like I said before my feelings for this movie are torn in two. For one thing I have to wonder, aren’t we tired of those movies where we go too far with technology and end up screwing ourselves? For goodness sake let’s stop making that movie! It’s been done! We know we should have seen it coming, we know man-kind paid the ultimate price, WE KNOW. We just really like our computers that’s all.
But I will tell you this. The romance that was thrown into this classic technology-is-our-doom flick was a nice twist. I’m usually not a big romance fan but I loved the heart wrenching scenes between Evelyn and Dr. Castor. And her internal struggle with the question of: is this really my husband? Or something else? Just perfect.
Also the movie drags. A lot. If you’re expecting something exciting with action around every corner you will be disappointed. Oh and Morgan Freeman (The Lego Movie, Last Vegas, Now You See Me) will be there playing Joseph Tagger one of Dr. Castor’s colleagues. Which is great. We’ll need him to narrate parts of the movie for no reason.
Transcendence received a 19% rotten from Rotten Tomatoes. Come on Johnny Depp I expect better from you! I know you can make another good movie I just know you can!
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action, violence, bloody images, strong language and sensuality.
Here’s an idea; watch one of your old technology-takes-over movies. Like Eagle Eye or I-Robot or something. It’s the same thing. Just without the romance. And kinda better.