Transcendence 2014

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Two leading computer scientists work toward their goal of Technological Singularity, as a radical anti-technology organization fights to prevent them from creating a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain.

Starring:
Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 59 minutes
Starring Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Johnny Depp
Director Wally Pfister
Genres Drama
Studio ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO
Rental release 25 August 2014
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 59 minutes
Starring Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Johnny Depp
Director Wally Pfister
Genres Drama
Studio ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO
Rental release 25 August 2014
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Albatross on 2 Sep 2014
Format: DVD
Have you ever looked at one of those ‘magic eye’ pictures? They’re those pictures made entirely of coloured spot and *supposedly* if you stare at them and relax your eyes in just the right way then you’ll see some magical sort of picture contained within. Well… Transcendence is a bit like one of those.

I stared at the film for nearly its two-hour runtime and I’m pretty sure there was something magical contained in there somewhere. I just wasn’t sure of what I’d seen.

For a start (in case you didn’t know) Transcendence wasn’t a commercial success. Despite it’s a-list cast (think Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman), it wasn’t that well-received. One reason – that anyone thinking of watching it should know – is that Johnny Depp’s face was used heavily in the film’s marketing. Therefore, his legions of fans naturally assumed that this was a ‘Johnny Depp film.’ It isn’t. Not really. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to mention that he dies about twenty minutes into the film. That’s integral to the plot. For he plays a computer genius who is experimenting with artificial intelligence and, after his death, has his consciousness transferred into a machine. And, as the saying goes… with disastrous consequences.

So, what little we see (and hear) of Depp is largely his face on a computer screen throughout most of the film. And that didn’t go down too well with those people who had gone to see the film just because he was in it.

Without wishing to give too much away about the story, I thought it was quite an original idea overall. It was just executed in a bit of an odd way. You’re never really sure what sort of film you’re watching.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Sep 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer, turns director. His first effort is a near future science fiction thriller all about a real world subject. Over reliance on technology and the development of artificial intelligence.

The film begins with the aftermath of it's ending. Which is pretty eye catching, and very evocative. There's voice over narration from Max Waters [Paul Bettany] a man who knows better than anyone how all this came to be.

Then we flash back to find out.

Dr. Will Caster [Johnny Depp] is a leader in the field of artificial intelligence. His aim to create a machine that has all human knowledge, and human emotions with it. A group of fanatics who aren't too keen on that notion attempt to kill him.

But as he dies, his wife [Rebecca Hall] hits on the idea of uploading his mind into a computer.

Will Caster 2.0 results. A machine with human memories. And one that can control an awful lot of technology. Which could be a problem for the entire human race...

Transcendence attempts to look at some very big ideas. What it is to be human. Could a machine ever be sentient. The rate at which technology is advancing, and what happens to humanity as a result. Things like that.

It is very well directed. It does contain some very good cinematography and some very powerful imagery.

But it doesn't really work.

Because, ironically for a movie all about what it is to be human, it doesn't really have any soul. The human characters are cyphers who exist to service the needs of the story. Johnny Depp underacts [three words you might never have expected to hear in a sentence ever again] rather drastically in the lead. Well, either that or he's bored.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neil Lennon on 25 Nov 2014
Format: Blu-ray
"Transcendence" seems to want badly to be a serious sci fi story but despite a relatively believable start it builds up soon gets carried away with its special effects and outlandish claims. The basic idea seems to be that a true AI would by its very nature be a threat to mankind. Although the films appearance suggests it is set in present day the scientists in the movie seem to be far in advance of the real world and able to use technology to download Johnny Depp's characters intelligence/memories/personality into a computer.

This would have been OK if the film had stuck to this theme of the consequences of creating a true AI but it also argues that such an AI would have limitless intelligence. As a result the main focus of the second part of the film seems to be on nanotechnology which seems to give the AI almost magical powers to manipulate anything it likes in the physical world. If they had stuck to more subtle signs of the AI utilising the internet to affect the real world it would have been more effective. For example the AI in the William Gibson novel "Neuromancer" where public phones start ringing as the protagonist walks past each in turn. More subtle, and also more believable.

The cast in this movie is very impressive, and often underutilised in favour of nanotechnology related special effects. Johnny Depp is always at his best being funny and charming, so reducing the majority of his role to a digital face and an unemotional voice takes away his best features. Rebecca Hall plays the main human character in this film but it never really focuses on her emotional journey in any depth. Where as Paul Bettany's character is quite one dimensional and bland.
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