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The Transcendence : How Humane Are We Really?


Symposia : 6.4/10

IMDb : 6.2/10

‘The Transcendence’ is a science fiction thriller directed by Wally Pfsiter, starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany. What separates this movie from the billions of other science fiction movies? Well, it is about artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is often mixed up with non-sentient androids, and there have been plenty of movies about robotic take over, i.e. The Terminator. However, artificial intelligence as we know it currently only exists in a network, and this is the path the film chooses to take.

Right from the beginning Dr. Will Caster, the main character, is shown to be involved deeply in a project to create a sentient computer which he hopes will create a phenomenon, dubbed the ‘Transcendence’. Going into the details would be a drag and is not why this review is written. The plot has already drifted into an unexplored area; we as watchers will probably conclude by now that the ‘Transcendence’ is most likely going to occur and will start acting on its own to threaten humanity. To cut the long story short, what we expect comes true. A human indeed ‘uploads’ their consciousness onto the software, and what follows is nothing short of chaos.

The movie has a lot of mixed reviews. Personally I think while it does have its loopholes and convenient ‘plot reasons’, it is a well-developed film. The concept of artificial intelligence in this current age is creating a central intelligence, while this movie has an entirely different idea. The contrast between artificial intelligence being created by us, and the movie’s depiction of literally copy pasting the human brain onto a computer, is highly fascinating. This is, however, clearly all science fiction and many reviewers have cited the ‘futuristic’ and ‘ambitious’ concepts that were used are out of place due to the script being b-tier.

I would personally argue that the value of the movie exceeds what most people understand. In my eyes, I see the struggle of human innovation. How far can you go without restricting it - this is a modern-day problem too. Given the situation, it is fair to conjecture that most people who receive the insurmountable power that comes with being linked to the internet would spend it on what they see as an honourable intent to help humanity. However, to those who do not have the insight into that persons’ intentions, the actions are threatening. This is only one way of analysing the movie and the interpretation I have come to is likely not what the director desired. Nevertheless, if you watch the movie with that thought in your head, the sub-par script and often dreary acting is overlooked in favor of an enjoyable film experience.

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