Reviewed by David Savage
Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Wally Pfister
Running Time: 119 minutes
Release Date: 25 August 2014
Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is one of world’s leading scientists in creating sentient artificial intelligence and has developed PINN (Physically Independent Neural Network).
A group of technophobic terrorists (Revolutionary Independence From Technology – R.I.F.T.) want to put a stop to the AI research before something is built that becomes beyond human control and stage a simultaneous attack on AI research labs across the USA killing researchers and destroying decades of research. Caster’s lab is left untouched but he is shot with a radiation tipped bullet. The gunshot doesn’t kill him but the radiation poisoning will.
Having only a month to live Caster, with the help of his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his friend Max (Paul Bettany) they upload his brain and memories to PINN linking him forever with any networked computer in the world giving him more intelligence than the collective capability than the entire human race throughout history.
After his death, online and self-aware, Caster and Evelyn build a huge data centre in the desert and create technologies to heal the human body and the human planet ultimately leading Caster to healing the sick and creating his own small army of hybrids that are now networked to him.
This new advance in technology is not only scaring R.I.F.T but also the government and Max, R.I.F.T and government scientist Joseph (Morgan Freeman) are determined to stop it. There is only one way to do this – bring down the entire internet which will affect the world as we know it.
Overall, Transcendence is a good sci-fi about how the advancement of technology can be a good or bad thing depending on your outlook. Some of the plot is rather silly like the of repairing damaged solar panels from mist (nanobots?) that rise up out of the ground, but overall I found it to be an enjoyable film.
Transcendence is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon here.