BY: DIANA SANGLAB
It's a shame that even with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, “Transcendence” loses its audience early on in the film. This is mostly because the plot fails to create full-fleshed characters or provide enough exposition for the audience to understand the world in which they live in. It doesn't help that the film also relies on a lot of stereotypical man vs. machine tropes.
Artificial Intelligence has never been a new subject in film, and as long as technology continues to grow, it will always be discussed.
If “Her” is a film about a man falling in love with his operating system, then “Transcendence” attempts to go beyond that, ten-fold. The only difference is that “Transcendence” takes the audience onto a roller coaster ride that goes super high, just to have a short drop.
The film follows a revered researcher, Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), as the latter tries to keep the former alive by transferring his mind into a computer named “PINN” (Physically Independent Neural Network).
When Will's consciousness is plugged in with the super-computer, he slowly becomes a god-like figure, able to cure the blind, and create anything from nothing.
The question is, “Is it really Will, or do we have another typical sci-fi thriller situation on our hands?”
There was much potential with the film, but one can't help think that the idea would be better suited for a television show because of how often it jumped from character to character without tying them all together. The audience barely has time to connect with the characters and absorb information that by the end of the film, one could still potentially be confused with what happened and why it did.
The actors can only do so much with the characters they are given, and none of them really show their potential—least of all Kate Mara, who is reduced to an anti-technology rebel who only spouts out political slogans here and there.
This film wants the audience to ask about human's dependence on technology, and plays with the idea of man becoming a mechanical god. But because there's so much noise that goes on in between, it's hard to really get any insight out of it.
Beyond the atrocious plot, the film is still very appealing to watch; the style screams Christopher Nolan. This is, of course, because the film is the directorial debut of Nolan's cinematographer, Wally Pfister. The film is also written by first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen.
Maybe it's a case of beginner's unluckiness that led to the film's downfall.