Transcendence, the newest film staring Johnny Depp is in theatres now.
Showing what happens when the human mind and computers meet, it’s an
interesting look at technology that might not be that far fetched. But
how does it do? Is it a good scifi film, or should it upload a virus
to off itself?
I love a good scifi flick, and its even better if the technology
displayed is actually in he realm of being possible. For me, it opens up my
imagination, and makes me question what the future holds. At least,
good science fiction does. But when you take something that has a
handful of really good ideas, then throw in enough logic problems and
plot holes to sink a ship, it turns into a huge let down. I really
wanted to like this flick. The premise is interesting, and it looked
like it was going to be a good one. In execution though, the results
are much different.
The film focuses on Dr. Will Caster, a researcher for a group that is
trying to make a sentient machine. At an investors summit, Dr. Caster
is shot, during a synchronized attack on other AI research facilities.
He recovers, only to find out the bullet was laced with a radioactive
material that is slwoly killing him. He decides to become part of his
tests, by uploading his consciousnes into the computers he’s working
on. And thats where the story proceedes to kick of from, showing
exactly what a human mind hooked up to the vastness of the internet
can accomplish. Motives come under question, friendships are put in
jeopardy, and the question of sentience comes into play. It’s a pretty
well written and thought out plot. There’s plenty of twists and turns,
and plenty of surprises. And for the most part, its pretty well acted,
too. Paul Bettany does a great job, as does Rebecca Hall. Depp, for
the parts where he’s human, falls pretty flat. He’s pretty devoid of
emotion, and its kind of a bummer seeing such a great actor phone it
in, so to speak. The plot does have its problems, though. Theres plot
holes you can drive a bus through, and there’s a few leaps in logic so
dumbfounding that it really breaks the experience. That being said, if
you can get past the glaring problems, the overall story is a pretty
First time Director Wally Pfister does a pretty solid job, but some of
the problems can squarely fall on his shoulders. The look and the feel
of the film is really well done, and and points it doesn’t feel like a
science fiction film, which is a good thing. He seemed to have one
foot firmly planted in reality, while the other was dipping into some
science fiction that could be pretty close to being science fact. It’s
all wonderfully laid out and shot, which is what Pfister excells at,
since most of his experience is as a Director of Photography. The only
thing I can fault him with is when the story doesn’t work. He should
have been able to fix it, but he didn’t. It’s a rookie mistake,
honestly. Some of the plot holes could have been sealed with simple
lines of dialog, but they were instead overlooked. But, for his first
film? I think he did a pretty damned good job. It opened the mind, and
makes you ask questions, which all good scifi flicks should do.
All in all, it’s a pretty good film. It has a few problems, but it
shouldn’t turn you away.
3 out of 5.