**This is a spoiler-free review. Read on! Also, pretty informal.Â **
Ok. Transcendence. First of all, I definitely do not believe it deserves the ratings it got. 19% on Rotten Tomatoes, 42% on Metacritic, and 6.4/10 on IMDB.
As a tech nerd, I immediately noticed the multitudes of technological inconsistencies and flaws of this movie. The typical, movie wants to create an all-powerful technological being, but for the sake of drama and movie-making creates limits that normally would not exist.
Visually, the movie is awesome. The portrayal of advanced nanotechnology and quantum computing is sick.
The Plot. Ok. Ummmâ€¦itâ€™s ok. Rather, it had tons of potential. It creates this portrayal of how Artificial Intelligence, fueled by the mind of a hyper intelligent man, can create a better world in every way imaginable, but it also brings about the terrors of what would happen if it went too far. Too far being a relative and subjective concept. In many cases, you would see things that would scare you shitless, but when you see what its intention and purpose is, you begin to realize that it isnâ€™t such a bad thing. At that point, the characters in the movie either look like scared and stupid people who completely ignored the ideas shown in the beginning of the movie (cause they obviously are thinking Skynet the entire time), or they become these confused â€œoh i donâ€™t knowâ€ type people. Which leads me to one of the weakest parts of this movie. The characters.
Johnny Depp, who plays Dr. William Caster and the Artificial Intelligence, is absolutely awesome in my opinion. Awesome in what sense? In that he grasps the feel of what I believe an Artificial Intelligence with a literal human mind would have. A sort of half mega-logical and half remembering that he is still somewhat human. An example of this is in his recognition of what he needed to do, technologically, in order to empathize. Itâ€™s scary, but it makes sense.
Rebecca Hall, Dr. Evelyn Caster, Willâ€™s wife, also does a decent job of fighting for her husbandâ€™s life and their work. Her internal conflict is apparent, but it upset me to see that she never confronts him in any real way, which a wife would.
The 4 other main characters. Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany, and Cillian Murphy, all feel like props. I know what youâ€™re thinking: They made Morgan Freeman a prop? Pretty much. Kata Mara was supposed to play some kind of badass hacker chick, but after her finally getting to Paul Bettanyâ€™s character, she pretty much just fades into the background and becomes irrelevant. Paul Bettany plays a character that creates the moral question of the whole movie, but his entire ideologies come from someone else by proxy. Which is a shame because it wouldâ€™ve been awesome to hear some ethical and moral philosophical ramblings in the movie to justify one direction or another. Cillian Murphy? [LOL] Heâ€™s a borderline extra in this movie and half the time, they put him in scenes just so he can stand there and observe. And then all of a sudden he creates something that could potentially become a conspiracy in the future, IF things were to go wrong, only to make that whole scene basically irrelevant? Right. Not good. Iâ€™m not saying the acting was bad. They did their parts just fine. The problem was the placement of the characters, character development, script, and narrative. I felt as though a higher emphasis on Paul Bettanyâ€™s and Kata Maraâ€™s characters (both individually and together), and reducing Cillian Murphyâ€™s and Morgan Freemanâ€™s characters would have generated a far stronger overall plot.
The end of the movie, leaves a sort of question in the air, sort of like how Inception ended, but not as good, again because of a technological plausibility question.
All in all, in general it was a good movie. Not the best movie, and certainly not if you know anything about how technology works (like how networks work, nanotechnology, viruses, etc.). Is it possible to enjoy the movie? Absolutely. I did, and I think that the only thing that prevented me from enjoying it more was because I could spot all the flaws in the technology.
As a big supporter of the Transhumanist movement, and the advancements of the technologies demonstrated in this movie, I would ask you to always keep an open mind when it comes to these things, and remember the good things it can bring to our world. Effective change is about making it happen responsibly, not preventing it from happening altogether.